FRANK SINATRA — It Might As Well Be Swing

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4.67 | 2 ratings | 1 review
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Album · 1964

Filed under Vocal Jazz


A1 Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words) 2:30
A2 I Wish You Love 2:56
A3 I Believe In You 2:21
A4 More 3:05
A5 I Can't Stop Loving You 3:00
B1 Hello, Dolly! 2:45
B2 I Wanna Be Around 2:25
B3 The Best Is Yet To Come 3:10
B4 The Good Life 2:28
B5 Wives And Lovers 2:50


Arranged By, Conductor – Quincy Jones
Bass – George Catlett
Cello – Ann Goodman , Edgar Lustgarten
Drums – Sonny Payne
Guitar – Freddie Green
Piano – Count Basie
Reeds – Charles Fowlkes , Eric Dixon, Frank Foster, Frank Wess, Marshal Royal
Trombone – Bill Hughes , Grover Mitchell, Henderson Chambers, Henry Coker, Kenny Shroyer
Trumpet – Al Aarons, Al Porcino, Don Rader, Harry "Sweets" Edison , George Cohn , Wallace Davenport
Vibraphone [Vibes] – Emil Richards
Viola – Alvin Dinkin, Paul Robyn, Stan Harris , Virginia Majewski
Violin – Bonnie Douglas, Erno Neufeld, Gerald Vinci, Israel Baker, Jacques Gasselin, James Getzoff, Lou Raderman, Marshall Sosson, Paul Shure, Thelma Beach

About this release

Reprise Records ‎– FS-1012 (US)

Thanks to Matt for the addition and snobb for the updates


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"A Meeting Of Giants" is written on the cover for Frank Sinatra's 2nd release with Count Basie. Frank stated on the first album that he had waited twenty years for this moment to perform with Count Basie which was titled "Sinatra-Basie" with another chance coming two years later titled "It Might As Well Be Swing". The first was such a success containing the arrangements of Neil Hefti with not a poor song recorded you would think that a second album would struggle to keep up the quality but with these two masters of music collaborating, quality is absolutely maintained with one album being extremley difficult to say which is better. For their follow-up they have a new arranger and conductor with the job given to none other than Quincy Jones and as we all know where would Michael Jackson be if not for Quincy's touch but as this is 1964, with Michael being only four at the time, young Quincy still had his finger right on the pulse giving us superb arrangements for these classic songs that were chosen and even if they had not attained that classic status quite then, they definitely have now. Strings were an addition from the previous album giving it a bit of a different feel and there are extra musicians in Basie's band this time around as well as changes in the personnel with the most apparent being that trumpeter Thad Jones is missing but Harry "Sweets" Edison is the replacement. Charles or Buddy Catlett is on bass and has he played with them all with Louis Armstrong being his highlight. Count Basie knew how to pick great musicians for his band and although Jo Jones on drums was long gone, Sonny Payne had no problem with carrying that baton that Jo left behind which was to keep that time to the spot on milli-second and also when to exactly to hit that kit with a slam or just that gentle brush and still keep that rythmn coming. Frank Wess is on Saxophones and he plays either alto or tenor, as well as being very handy with a flute but he keeps that in its case for this recording with another big name in the band being Freddie Green on guitar but they are just a few of many as their are 31 personel counting the strings contributing and that's not counting "Ole Blue Eyes" himself. Quincy Jones had a recording date set for June the 8th and 9th but Frank was over in Hawaii shooting his film "None but the Brave" and would not be back to May the 27th and Quincy was concerned as there was not much time for preparation so Frank through his record company Reprise arranged for Quincy with Bill Miller ( Frank's accompanist) to fly to Hawaii and there they met on the first day of Quincy's and Bill's arrival and within an hour with time on the piano they had the album preped with the routines, tempos and styles for each tune done. Gob dropping is the only response to the professionalism that Frank Sinatra displayed as not only could go over something with such speed but it was the quality of his work as he also made suggestions for slight changes during recording within some of the songs with "I Wish You Love" having a bad join where the band kicked in but Frank he just omitted it and used that superb voice of his instead. One other note is there was an audience at these sessions as a live feel was wanted by the musicians to feed off at this time of recording in 1964.

Straight of the bat with the opening number we hear Frank and the economy of Basie's technique on piano in "Fly Me To The Moon" with swing just building throughout each section where the rthymn section is underneath with a precise shuffle and the band seem to reach new heights each time they kick in throughout this stunning rendition of what was a waltz with Frank sounding so relaxed with his vocal. The strings are here for the next "I Wish You Love" and you would be excused if you thought you were in for a ballad at the intro but do not fear the swing is coming with Frank singing as smooth as ever with Sweets Edison's trumpet muted but he is blowin' it with that high pitch throughout this wonderful composition. The swing just keeps coming with even more energy with the next "I Believe In You" and Frank sings it beautifully with all the neccasary panache that was just so natural for him and this just continues in the follower "More (Theme From Mondo Cane) and the addition of the strings is sheer genuis where Quincy has them placed within this arrangement. One of the most famous songs to appear from the fifties and sixties is covered next and that is the Don Gibson composed tune "I Can't Stop Loving" which he recorded back 3/12/1957 and was actually the B side to "Oh Lonesome Me", then Ray Charles created the most unforgettable version of the tune in 1962 smashing the charts all the way to number one but Frank here follows the more original style that Don Gibson used with Sweets on trumpet just adding spice and once again Quincy's arrangement is beautiful with the strings placed perfectly within the song and just listen to Frank's vocals and when he just sings those words "Those Happy Hours" where he drags happy and brings things up with the next word, hour and with the spacing in just that second Frank grabs the song in just two words by the proverbial throat. The next is another that ripped up the charts in the early sixties and that is "Hello Dolly" which Louis Armstrong unintentionally turned into a hit, as for him it was just another session and when the song shot up the charts he and the All Stars had to actually send for the charts to play it live as they had forgotten all about it and that was in the same year that Frank recorded this spirited version in tribute to his friend Louis Armstrong and Frank sings the song beautifully with all that superb swing added by Basie as well as Sweets doing the trumpet solo to New Orleans perfection but it is the last verse where Frank pays tribute to Louis's number one position in the charts within the lyrics and praises Louis for all his talents over a great beat and backing from the band. After all that, the next "I Wanna Be Around" brings us down just a little and whoever chose the track placement within the album did a marvellous selection and the entire album is always interesting with all the ups and downs just placed perfectly within the selection for this Swing, "Tour De Force" created by Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and the outstanding arrangements from Quincy Jones.The albums other songs are all superb with "The Best Is Yet To Come", "The Good Life" and a wonderful version of "Wives And Lovers" rounding it off.

Clint Eastwood devised a way for me to watch the credits in his movie "Space Cowboys" by playing this version of "Fly Me To The Moon" and when the tune started with Tommy Lee Jones heading of to the moon in his spacesuit I was entranced and who could not be but don't ask me any details from the credits as I was not watching but just listening. Absolutely wonderful album by Frank Sinatra as the title states "It Might As Well Be Swing" and that precisely is what it is with lashing of it from the arrangements of Quincy Jones and as usual the outstanding interpretations of each tune sung by Frank Sinatra.

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