Greg Aspeling’s love of Sinatra style swing music came at a very early age. As a matter of fact, he believes the love for the music developed even before he was born. In his hometown of Cape Town, South Africa, it was quite the tradition in the 50’s and 60’s for his dad’s quite large family to gather around a piano at someone’s place on a Friday night for a get-together and a sing along. And, of course, it was all Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole, Dinah Washington, Perry Como and the list goes on and on. Greg’s mother, Rebecca, would attend these sessions even before he was born. In later years, after arriving in Australia in 1972, people would often ask him how he knew all these Sinatra songs? Greg, actually, didn’t have a definitive answer. His answer is that it is just instilled in his soul. Sinatra and all the many fantastic swing performers were his idols. He wanted so much to do what they were doing.
It took some time to get there. It wasn’t until well after he was married in 1981, and had two daughters, Elise & Kate, with wife Jacky, that his dream came true. Greg’s younger daughter, Katey, even as a little girl, had a fabulous voice with great vocal ability. As Katey grew up, she was forever singing around the house. And, of course, having dad playing his swing music, she grew up loving the swing genre. In 2007, Greg saw an advertisement for auditions at the local Arts Centre on the Gold Coast for a show called Broadway In Concert. Katey was 15 at the time. Greg booked them in for the audition. They both scored a part. That was his first foray into “showbiz” and the start of his dream becoming a reality.
In 2009, through quite a bizarre string of events, Greg joined the 18 piece Gold Coast Big Band as its front man. In 2010, one of the band member’s Les Wilson, a trumpet player, decided to form his own 11 piece big band, Swing Force Big Band, and invited Greg to front the band. A little later, Katey became the female vocalist with the band, where she remained for 3 years. Greg remained with the band until 2016. During his time with the band, he indulged in creating successful shows for himself and the big band. Tributes and celebrations to the Chairman of The Board, Frank Sinatra, and to others like Bobby Darin, Paul Anka, Sinatra’s friend and lyricist of Sinatra’s most famous song, My Way, the new kid on the block, Michael Bublé and finally an amalgamation of the three show, The Kings of Swing.
In his latest foray, Greg has produced a show for himself and Katey, called Come Fly With Me, the songs of Sinatra & Friends. The theme of the show evolves around the influence Sinatra had on some of the swing artists and their music, paying tribute to legends such as Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr, with Katey paying tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, and other female artists who have adopted the swing genre.
This time though, Greg wanted to take the show to the next level. Not only with great songs and the now 13 piece Swing Force Big Band, but with dancers as well, the cream of the crop local dancers, who have performed internationally. The show is definitely full of fun and pizzazz.
Professionalism and having fun at the same time is something dear to Greg’s heart. He says if you’re not having fun with something you love, you may as well not do it. See you at the next show! 🙂