Ned Fasullo
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Ned Fasullo

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"Singer makes connection with classic songs that have heart:"

By JOHN WIRT - - Entertainment writer

Ned Fasullo's business card gets to the point: "Big Band Entertainment -- Swinging the Standards." Fasullo is something contemporary, often tuneless singers are not -- a crooner. Whether singing with piano accompaniment in a local Italian restaurant or swinging out with a 16-piece big band, Fasullo croons classic pop songs identified with such mid-20th century singing stars as Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin and, most of all, Frank Sinatra. Besides being a crooner, Fasullo has something else in common with the singers mentioned above -- he's Italian. The music of Sinatra and his peers, Fasullo said, "it's something that I've always listened to in an Italian family. So I just kind of got hooked on it over the years."

The American pop standards that comprised Sinatra and others' repertoire, Fasullo added, are just about the only music he listens to. He listens for enjoyment as well as to study the many interpretations of the songs he performs. Fasullo has another good reason for preferring standards over modern pop, hip-hop and country -- the human touch.

"What's here today is good for today, but this is music that was written note by note, by arrangers. Quincy Jones arranged a lot of the tunes that we do in the orchestra. He was Frank Sinatra's arranger for six years. Back then, if you needed to change a horn part in a song, you had to rewrite the whole part. It was all in pen and ink. Now we have computers. Nowadays people would rather push a button and have the computer make all the music, and use just a couple of musicians.

"And a lot of singers nowadays don't sing. They're filling in notes around a piece of synthesized music. Some of these pop singers are really good, but you can tell that there wouldn't be much to others without the production and the effects."

Even if the music Fasullo performs gets little radio play, he's not alone in his appreciation of standards like "Fly Me to the Moon," "It Had to Be You," "Mack the Knife" and "Cheek to Cheek." Rocker Rod Stewart's recent standards album is a hit. Barry Manilow, Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand and Boz Scaggs recorded albums of standards in recent years, too.

"It's never gonna go out of style," Fasullo said, "because it's classy music that can fit almost any occasion." Popular demand, Fasullo said, inspired him to make a commitment to singing, at least to the extent that his day job with a computer software company allows.

"When we started it was kind of a hobby," he said. "But everywhere that people saw us they begged to know where we were gonna be next. They asked if we had CDs. Nobody was really doing this." Fasullo got serious about singing in late 1999. He sang with a big band for the first time in July 2000, performing at the Centroplex with veteran local band-leader Buddy Boudreaux. "It was fabulous," Fasullo recalled.

Fasullo found singing work at Italian restaurants such as Maggio's, Cippriani's, DeAngelo's Pizzeria Company and Gino's Restaurant and Jazz Club. He currently performs Thursdays at Vincent's Italian Cuisine with pianist Brigham Hall and vocalist Mary Beth Broussard. Hall, Fasullo said, "he's the key to all of it. I've been with him longer than anybody. We don't even communicate when we play because he knows exactly what to do." Fasullo also performs at many wedding receptions, a natural setting for his style of music.

"A lot of weddings are going back to traditional big band music," he said. "In May we have a wedding reception every weekend and on one Saturday we have two receptions." A self-taught singer, Fasullo learned his trade by studying the approximately 1,400 recordings he has by Sinatra, Vic Damone, Al Martino and others.

"Sinatra's my all-time favorite. My second favorite's probably Bobby Darin. I've been compared to him, and I like a lot of the arrangements that he used. A lot of times there could be a song like 'Just In Time' that several of those guys recorded, but the one that I like the most is Bobby Darin's version."

Fasullo is going to Los Angeles soon for a visit during which he'll sing at a jazz club in Hollywood. Though it's just an informal opportunity -- a favor from a friend of his California-residing aunt -- who knows who may be listening? This could be the start of something big. Meanwhile, Fasullo has no interest in singing anything but the great American songbook.

"I don't perform rock or pop. I don't feel that."
- The Advocate

"Where Angels Fear to Tread:"

By Susan D. Mustafa

Ned Fasullo did not grow up with musical inclinations. He listened to Frank Sinatra on the radio with his mother and four sisters, but he had no dreams to become a singer. He did take piano lessons for about four years when he was young, but quit when his teacher found out he was playing by ear because he couldn’t read music. Ned doesn’t even think he’s a great singer. Singing was just one of a long list of hobbies until he decided on a whim to begin a band. And Ned has always been a man to go where angels fear to tread. In fact, he approaches everything that way.

“I just decided to do it one day. I knew I could sing a little bit and decided to give it a try,” Ned said.

Ned sent an e-mail to members of the Baton Rouge Jazz Ensemble expressing his desire to start a band. He then downloaded a bunch of Frank Sinatra songs and began learning them. He got a small group together and two weeks later played his first gig at Maggio’s. After honing his skills at local restaurants for eight months, Ned decided it was time to form a big band.

“I regrouped and set goals,” he said. “I auditioned piano players, kept my original bass player, and went back to the Baton Rouge Jazz Ensemble for horns. I told people I had a big band before I actually had one. I started booking weddings, and it grew from there.”

More surprised than anyone at the demand for his Sinatra-like sound, Ned soon found himself opening shows for the likes of Harry Connick, Sr. and playing at bigger and bigger venues. Collecting female fans in the 60-plus demographic was also a surprise for the young man whose almost shy grin is indicative of someone unused to so much attention.

“People say I resemble a young Frank Sinatra, but I don’t think so. And I don’t think I sound like him. That’s not what I’m trying to do. This is not about people who sang
songs. It’s about great arrangers who made beautiful music,” he explained.

With standards from Tony Bennett, Sinatra, Bobby Darrin, and Sammy Davis, Jr., Ned and his 17-piece Fabulous Big Band Orchestra take their audience on a journey back to a simpler time when singers crooned their love. “There is a vacuum for this type of music,” Ned said. “There are few big bands that float around this area, but not many. I think I was in the right place at the right time.”

To date, Ned has recorded three studio CDs and two live CDs. His latest, Ned Fasullo—Live at Casino Rouge, was recorded at a show in July in Rhythms Lounge in the casino. Featuring standards like “I Only Have Eyes For You,” “My Funny Valentine,” and “Mack the Knife,” the CD showcases the range of Ned’s abilities.

“Working with Casino Rouge helps us so much. We’re the missing genre that rounds out their schedule.” Ned will return to Casino Rouge to perform on December 13. This show will feature trumpet players from Catholic High’s jazz band.

Ned is a featured vocalist with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra under the direction of Nelson’s son, Christopher, and will begin touring with the orchestra in January. Nelson was Frank Sinatra’s bandleader for 22 years. Also working on putting a Dean Martin type show together for Cox Cable to showcase The Fabulous Big Band Orchestra, Ned’s “hobby” is keeping him very busy.

During the week when he’s not at his job as a sales representative for Transformyx, Ned can be found singing on Thursday nights at Vincent’s Italian Cuisine in the piano bar on Highland Road or at DeAngelo’s Pizzeria on Coursey Boulevard twice each month. And his four-year-old daughter, Mary Joy, has been known to offer her rendition of “It Had to be You” on some of these occasions.

“I don’t even use a mike at Vincent’s. I have a big voice. Sometimes they have to tell me to keep it down,” Ned laughed.

Ned’s CDs are available at The Compact Disc Store on Jefferson Highway or online at And Ned has a special treat exclusively for City Social readers. Visit Ned’s website and be the first to hear some of the new releases from his upcoming CD. You will also be able to access a video of Ned in North Carolina with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. Just type in “city” for the username and “social” for the password to take advantage of this very special preview.
- City Social Magazine


CD's: Live At Casino Rouge, Come Swing With Me, Hits of Dean Martin...

DVD's: Live At Casino Rouge


Feeling a bit camera shy


No one singer has embodied the feeling, persona, energy, and stage presence of the great crooners like vocalist Ned Fasullo. His interpretation and delivery of classic American standards are second to none and constantly keep audiences begging for more. Audiences from coast to coast constantly compare Ned's look and style and phrasing to the Frank Sinatra of the 50's and 60's at his career high and swingin' best - recording by day with Nelson Riddle and performing by night at the Sands Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas with his pallies, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Whether Ned is performing in a small intimate setting with a few jazz musicians or going all out with his 18 piece big band orchestra, you can bet on a swingin’ good time.

It is because of his style and natural stage ability that he was chosen in 2003 to be a touring vocalist for the "Salute To Sinatra" show from Florida Pops Entertainment, backed by the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, directed by Nelson's son Chrisopher Riddle. Since 2003 Ned has performed to sold out shows all over the country performing some of Sinatra and Riddle's biggest and best arrangements. Ned has also shared the stage on several occasions with Broadway singer Bryan Anthony and Harry Connick, Sr.

Ned also regularly produces and performs shows with his own band the 18-piece Fabulous Big Band Orchestra as well as performing in smaller venues with 5, 6 and 7 piece jazz bands.

Ned's style of singing, call it swing or call it crooning, is the continuation of the "art" now carried on by other notables such as Harry Connick, Jr., Tony Bennett, Michael Buble and others. Popular singing of great American standards is one form of entertainment that never loses an audience, and is always in style.