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|Sinatra - the jazz connection
Frank Sinatra’s contribution to quality popular music is incalculable. His appeal to lovers of music of all persuasions says a lot about his unique musical talent.
Ol Blue Eyes could be considered a “jazz influenced” vocalist. He was particularly fond of Billie Holiday and associated with many of the jazz greats.
Pictured above Quincy Jones, Count Basie, Sinatra June 12-1964 during recording of the album "Sinatra-Basie It might as well be Swing"
Sinatra’s respect for jazz and the musicians who created it was evident back in the 1940s.
Frank was a great admirer of Billie Holiday. The highly regarded jazz magazine “Downbeat” even published a photograph of Sinatra “digging” Lady Day at the “Off Beat Club” in Chicago.
In 1958 Sinatra said “Billie Holiday was, and still remains, the greatest single musical influence on me. Lady Day is unquestionably the most important influence on American popular singing in the last twenty years”
Sinatra’s favourite trumpet player was Harry “Sweets” Edison who was born two months before Frank.
Edison came to fame in 1937 when he was a member of the Count Basie orchestra. Edison is considered a “jazz giant”.
Sweets, when not fronting jazz groups could be found doing studio work. His first appearance with Sinatra was on the 1954 album “Swing Easy” with Nelson Riddle and his orchestra. Edison’s beautiful muted trumpet solos are featured on many of the classic Sinatra Capitol albums of the 1950s.
In 1946 Sinatra recorded the song “Sweet Lorraine” with “The Metronome All Stars” which comprised not only pianist Nat “King” Cole but also jazz musicians, trumpeter Charlie Shaversand drummer Buddy Rich.
Buddy went on to lead some of the most polished (and disciplined) big “jazz” bands of the 1950’s, ‘60s and beyond. Not to be confused with “big swing bands” which played music to dance to (and smooch to) - not that there’s anything wrong with that!
When Sinatra launched his own record label “Reprise” in1961 the first album he released on his new label was titled “Ring-a-ding-Ding”
(see Sinatraspeak )
|For the album Sinatra chose respected jazz arranger Johnny Mandel to handle all the arrangements. The result was a very “jazzy” swinging album (recommended by The Jazz Man)
The Jazz Man also recommends the following Sinatra jazz influenced albums;
“Sinatra and swingin’ Brass” arranged by Neil Hefti.
“I remember Tommy" with former Dorsey arranger Sy Oliver.
“Sinatra – Basie" with Count Basie’s Band arranged by Neil Hefti (CD cover pictured).
“Sinatra at the Sands” recorded in performance with Basie and with arrangements by Quincy Jones and Billy Beyers.
“It might as well be Swing" again with the Basie Orchestra.
“Francis A and Edward K" with Duke Ellington and his Orchestra arranged by Billy May.
“Sinatra and Sextet Live in Paris” led by pianist Bill Miller.
“Frank Sinatra with the Red Norvo Quintet live in Australia, 1959” recorded in Melbourne.
“L.A. is my Lady” Franks last solo album arranged by Quincy Jones and featured a star studded orchestra of jazz greats.
Sinatra also performed “live” with many small jazz combos.
Pictured above Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, c. 1958.
Frank Sinatra was ahead of his time – he was hip and very “cool”.
To find out exactly how “cool” click on Frank Sinatra - the man who invented “cool”
Sinatra’s musical interests also included classical music.
He was extremely knowledgeable on the subject, and could talk about some of the most obscure of European composers.
Included amongst his closest colleagues were classical musicians, violinist Felix Slatkin and his wife Elenore Slatkin. Felix was considered one of America’s finest violinists, his wife was a cellist.
Sinatra had an extensive classical record collection and it was not uncommon for guests to his home to hear classical music in the background.
The only genre of music that Sinatra had little if any interest in was rock ‘n roll which he voiced his dislike of in the odd interview and live performance.
The picture of Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald is from “The Sinatra Treasures” by Charles Pignone and published by Bulfinch Press, photograph MPTV.
The picture of Quincy Jones, Count Basie and Sinatra is from "The Sinatra Treasures" by Charles Pignone and published by Bulfinch Press, photograph 1978 David Sutton/MPTV.
Enjoy the vast music of Ol Blue Eyes on "THE SOUNDS OF SINATRA - The Albums" on Melbourne's (Australia) 95.7FM Golden Days Radio Mondays at 7.30pm.
A 30 minute musical journey through the "concept" or theme albums of Frank Sinatra. The first recording artist to introduce the concept.