The Cuban Sinatra

That Song You’re Hearing is Not a Record Player From the 1950s

It was a warm Friday night in Coral Gables when I stumbled upon The Cuban Sinatra for the first time. I was strolling down Aragon Avenue, searching for my car, when I heard the smooth sound of Frank Sinatra floating out of ManKind Grooming & Services, the combo barbershop and bar on the corner of Salzedo. I’m a jazz lover, and a die-hard fan of Sinatra, who managed to mix jazzy vocals with pop, swing, and big band music to forge his unique style. So I peeked inside to see what the vibe was like and maybe ask if they’d play “I’ve Got the World on a String” next. But it wasn’t the stereo playing Sinatra. It was a man singing, sounding for all the world like Frank Sinatra reborn.

Sinatra was once among the most popular crooners in the United States, belting out the kind of love songs with haunting melodies and brassy orchestral arrangements that have fallen out of favor in recent decades as younger people turn their proclivities to rap, R&B, Latin rhythms, and alternative pop. Local artist and Miami native, Joseph Pages, known colloquially as “The Cuban Sinatra,” is looking to change that.

The Cuban Sinatra
Joseph Pages, known as the Cuban Sinatra, crooning at the barbershop and bar, Mankind Grooming & Services on Aragon Ave. Says Pages on Frank Sinatra, “he is my hero.”

On Friday nights, Pages finishes sweeping up the shorn hair from his latest client – he’s a barber at ManKind by day, singer by night – and sets up his old-school microphone. From 8 pm to 11 pm, he sheds his everyday identity and becomes the incarnation of Old Blue Eyes, with that rich vocal style which sounds more like it belongs in Las Vegas than Coral Gables. While patrons kick back beers and play pool in the barroom of ManKind, Pages stands in a faded brick archway, still in his barber’s vest, and brings Sinatra back to life.

Musically gifted since childhood, Pages’ journey to the corner of Salzedo and Aragon feels like fate. Raised by his mother, a police officer in Miami Beach, he spent much of his childhood at his grandmother’s home in the Gables, where he first discovered Sinatra. Because he had a crush on a girl in the high school chorus program, he auditioned. Pages was not only vocally talented, but also gifted with that smooth, robust timbre that pairs so well with the melodies voiced by the trumpet and saxophone, the province of classic crooners like Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, Tony Bennett and his personal favorite, The Chairman of the Board.

“He is my hero,” Pages says, explaining how Sinatra actively promoted equal opportunities for immigrants – a cause close to Pages’ heart considering his Cuban descent. For The Cuban Sinatra, that’s what music is all about: a form of artistic expression that brings together people of all cultures. For those who grew up with the famous crooner playing on their home radios, Pages’ live performances are a chance to reminisce. For the rest of us, it’s an opportunity to discover the allure of a unique American musical genre.

ManKind Grooming & Services

290 Aragon Ave.
(305) 446-2500
@the_cuban_sinatra (on Instagram)