FRANK SINATRA — Sinatra at the Sands

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4.05 | 2 ratings | 1 review
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Live album · 1966

Filed under Vocal Jazz
By FRANK SINATRA

Tracklist

1. "Come Fly with Me" (Sammy Cahn, Jimmy Van Heusen) – 3:45
2. "I've Got a Crush on You" (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) – 2:42
3. "I've Got You Under My Skin" (Cole Porter) – 3:43
4. "The Shadow of Your Smile" (Johnny Mandel, Paul Francis Webster) – 2:31
5. "Street of Dreams" (Victor Young, Sam M. Lewis) – 2:16
6. "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)" (Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer) – 4:40
7. "Fly Me to the Moon" (Bart Howard) – 2:50
8. "One O'Clock Jump" (Instrumental) (Count Basie) – 0:53
9. "The Tea Break" (Sinatra Monologue) – 11:48
10. "You Make Me Feel So Young" (Mack Gordon, Josef Myrow) – 3:21
11. "All of Me" (Instrumental) (Gerald Marks, Seymour Simons) – 2:56
12. "The September of My Years" (Cahn, Van Heusen) – 2:57
13. "Get Me to the Church on Time" (Frederick Loewe, Alan Jay Lerner) – 2:22
14. "It Was a Very Good Year" (Ervin Drake) – 4:01
15. "Don't Worry 'Bout Me" (Rube Bloom, Ted Koehler) – 3:18
16. "Makin' Whoopee" (Walter Donaldson, Gus Kahn) – 4:24
17. "Where or When" (Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart) – 2:46
18. "Angel Eyes" (Earl Brent, Matt Dennis) – 3:26
19. "My Kind of Town" (Cahn, Van Heusen) – 3:04
20. "A Few Last Words" (Sinatra Monologue) – 2:30
21. "My Kind of Town" (Reprise) – 1:00

Line-up/Musicians

* Frank Sinatra - vocals
* Count Basie - piano
* Bill Miller - piano

The Count Basie Orchestra

* Quincy Jones - arranger, conductor
* Harry "Sweets" Edison
* Al Aarons - trumpets
* Sonny Cohn
* Wallace Davenport
* Phil Guilbeau
* Al Grey - trombones
* Henderson Chambers
* Grover Mitchell
* Bill Hughes
* Marshal Royal - reeds
* Bobby Plater
* Eric Dixon
* Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis
* Charlie Fowlkes
* Freddie Green - guitar
* Norman Keenan - double bass
* Sonny Payne - drums

About this release

Reprise Records – 2FS 1019 (US)

Thanks to snobb for the addition

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FRANK SINATRA SINATRA AT THE SANDS reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Chicapah
What can one possibly say about Frank Sinatra that hasn’t already been said? The man is one of the undisputed heavyweight icons of 20th century music. In my book he’s only topped by The Beatles and Elvis Presley due to the fact that he wasn’t as much of a game-changing innovator as those rebels were but Frank certainly played a major part in bringing jazz further out into the open and making it a viable alternative to the cutesy pop that often ruled the airwaves in the 40s. That alone would’ve been enough to secure his place in history but he also discovered ways to fit his natural charisma into the film and burgeoning television realms, creating a multi-media niche for himself that few have equaled. Yet he never abandoned his penchant for performing and found the hotel ballrooms and nightclubs of bawdy Las Vegas to be the venues where he could most be who he really was, an immensely magnetic and gifted singer who could hold an audience in the palm of his hand.

Face it, live albums are a dime a dozen. But few truly convey the authentic atmosphere of the room they were taped in as well as this one does and it also benefits greatly from exceptional sound quality on the technical side. I was in various rock bands in the 70s and one of my hobbies was to record our sets as often as I could not only in order to critique our deficiencies so they could be corrected but to try to preserve the moment for posterity. Musically speaking some turned out better than others yet the ones I treasure most are those that captured the realness of the evening via the stage patter and the unplanned interactions between we artists and our admirers, making me feel like I’ve been transported back to that very night. Because this disc hasn’t been sanitized or heavily edited it retains all of those special quirks I so delight in. What you get with “Sinatra at the Sands” is Frank’s show from start to finish, honestly conveying the genius of his inimitable, confident style and the superb caliber of the musicians he surrounded himself with in his mid 50s, the circa ‘66 era when I feel he was most comfortable with his notoriety.

After a grand introduction the famous Count Basie Orchestra (conducted by none other than Quincy Jones) kicks right into “Come Fly with Me” and Sinatra enters as casually and relaxed as if he just strolled in from a dip in the pool. He then shows off his unique vocal phrasing acumen on “I’ve Got a Crush on You” as his trusty pianist Bill Miller floats notes up from behind and the ensemble eases into the song’s lazy gait seamlessly. While some headliners might be irritated by audience distractions, Frank is a master at using them to keep the mood spontaneous and the momentum never flags for a second. During “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” the band’s riveting dynamics are so good they actually upstage the star. Their rendition of “The Shadow of Your Smile” is very sultry and jazzy with light vibes adding a cool accompaniment to Sinatra’s crooning. On “Street of Dreams” the sexy lope generated by the drums and bass supports a strong horn section but the apex of the set comes in the form of “One For My Baby.” Frank describes it as a classic “drunk song” and then proceeds to paint the scenery while Miller plays softly underneath. Here Quincy wisely keeps the orchestra out of the number, allowing the intimacy Sinatra creates to reign unadorned. The walking feel established for “Fly Me to the Moon” leads you right into Jones’ fabulous arrangement that compels this tune to soar. When Frank disappears offstage Basie’s bunch skips nary a beat, leaping into a short burst of “One ‘o Clock Jump” to keep things on the up and up.

When Sinatra returns he gives the musicians a break by treating the crowd to about 11 minutes of wisecracks. As I said, one of this album’s charms is that you get the whole package of what it was like to attend one of his appearances. “You Make Me Feel So Young” is a fine swinging deal that builds and builds to a climactic end after which Sinatra once again leaves things in Quincy’s hands so the orchestra can deliver a dynamite version of “All of Me.” One can’t avoid being impressed by what a tight, cohesive group they were as they pepper the song with sharp accents and brassy punches. A dramatic intro quiets the room for “The September of My Years,” letting Frank work his spellbinding magic on those gathered. “Luck Be a Lady” sports a coy beginning featuring crisp horns and then it drops into a peppy pace suitable for snapping your fingers to. Another zippy tempo turns “Get Me to the Church on Time” from a dated oldie into something modern and extraordinarily hot. For “It Was a Very Good Year” Jones’ tactful arrangement fits the lounge climate perfectly without losing any of the poignancy or class of the lush studio version. “Don’t Worry About Me” is a bar ballad you can tell is one of Sinatra’s favorites. I love the brash, glamorous horns that shine brightly and keep it from being a downer. After a clever opening by the Count and his boys the ensemble delivers a rousing instrumental cover of “Makin’ Whoopee!” where the inventive score and the muted trumpet in particular kill. When Frank returns for “Where or When” he and the musicians are so in their element they make what they do sound deceivingly easy. A mellow lead-in colors “Angel Eyes,” a dandy specimen of jazzy blues wherein Sinatra tells a sad story using the song’s delicate melody to enhance the lyrics, followed by the happy swing of “My Kind of Town,” the set closer they could’ve played in their sleep without charts. The encore consists of Frank graciously thanking his crew and a brief reprise of the tune, peaking in a huge finale.

“Sinatra at the Sands” was his first concert LP to be released commercially so you know it had to pass all of his stringent requirements. If you don’t have any of Sinatra’s records this might be a place to start because you not only get a slew of some of his best and most well-known songs but you get his one-of-a-kind personality as a bonus. If you’re a fan but don’t have it already, buy it today. The Count Basie Orchestra performs marvelously throughout as Frank beguiles as only he could and when it’s over you feel like you’ve been right there, sitting at a front-row table and soaking it all in. “Ol’ Blue Eyes” may be gone from this mortal coil but, thanks to recordings such as this, you can experience a fair semblance of what it was like to be in his presence. This is everything a live album should be.

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