FRANK SINATRA — Francis A. & Edward K. (review)

FRANK SINATRA — Francis A. & Edward K. album cover Album · 1967 · Vocal Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
Matt
Recorded in 1967 with the last session on Frank Sinatra's 52nd birthday. First time that Duke Ellington had ever worked with the chairman of the board and also we have none other than Billy May arranging and conducting. What a fabulous co-joining of great artists with Billy May having been behind so many of Sinatra's classic Capitol albums with his arranging. What can one say about Duke Ellington that has not been said as we all know Jazz would not be the same without that mans contribution beginning in the 1920's and most of his orchestra from the time is here with him. Johnny Hodges, Paul Gonsalves, Harry Carney are just a few of the sax players, Rev. Cootie Williams, Cat Anderson on trumpets with Sam Woodyard drumming and Jimmy Hamilton blowing clarinet. Sounds great and sounds just as good with all these total professionals involved. Frank Sinatra had already had two great albums with Count Basie and band, done a beautiful one with Antonio Carlos Jobim just short of two years previously and now it was Duke Ellington's turn.

Eight tracks only within the album with "Follow Me" out of "Camelot" first with great swing coming from the orchestra and Frank comes in with that swagger with his vocal delivery on this mid tempo number, for this style of music. Beautiful sax contribution from Johnny Hodges and what would an Ellington sound be without a trumpet playing only a sound that emanates from the old South and Cootie Williams does just that with Cat Anderson's trumpet contribution cracking mirrors with it's high points. Of course the Duke plays superbly with that absolutely minimum touch. "Sunny", Bobby Hebb's hit and composition is given the treatment from Frank and co. next up with Cootie Williams really laying down some more of his great trumpet sound at the intro of the tune which is played at a slightly slower pace than Bobby's original hit and Cootie just keeps jabbing that trumpet in between Frank until he solos with that beautiful slow drag. Another tune picked from a musical "All I Need Is The Girl" with more Sinatra swagger and the Ellington Orchestra right on the spot with Frank but already by this time within the album I am starting to think it is more of the same, albeit the orchestra keeps playing absolutely beautifully and Frank is right on the money as usual it is just these mid tempos after mid tempos that already are starting to bring a sameness to the album. "Indian Summer" which follows with even the Ellington Composition "I Like The Sunrise" seem to be going in the wrong direction being even more of a slower tempo within the album. They are great songs but together that sameness is creeping in. "Yellow Days" and "Poor Butterfly" are played to perfection but only back to that mid tempo. Finally on the last track we get the punch with "Come Back To Me" being the only number that really swings within the album but alas it is all to late due to the album's sameness. Play this one first or mid album and try and break the album up.

Good album but that sameness with so many of the songs tempo's starts to make thing a little on the boring side at times even with all these legends present. There should have been another one or two numbers with punch which the Ellington Orchestra would have delivered superbly instead of these tunes picked with one even harkening back to Frank's Dorsey days, all sounding the same due to their time structures. Who picked the song selection?
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Matt wrote:
more than 2 years ago
The Duke parents were much better at picking clothes for their children
js wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Its hard to not notice that album cover, little Frankie looks like he wants to punch somebody for dressing him up like that, ha.

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