Music

Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim: Sinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings

Sinatra takes your breath away and makes you want to bow down to love.


Sinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings

Artists: Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim
Label: Concord
US Release Date: 2010-05-04
UK Release Date: 2010-05-04

According to the liner notes of this new, expanded edition of the Frank Sinatra/Antonio Carlos Jobim album, the biggest worry Sinatra’s entourage had was whether could sing softly. Fans knew the self-described saloon singer as someone who could belt out a tune. The Brazilian composer Jobim wrote hushed, gentle tunes that swayed more than swung. Sinatra was the Chairman of the Board while Jobim was simply Tom. While music critics lauded both of these men as at the height of their creative powers during the mid-sixties, no one knew for sure if their music would yield serendipitous results or if the duo’s styles would grate noisily against each others.

Sinatra’s camp didn’t have to worry. Even when Frank swung loudly, he could always break down a line into a meaningful whisper. For the most part, the Chairman keeps the volume down here and does so with excellent results. Jobim’s Portuguese lyrics translate awkwardly into English. This becomes clear on the few songs that Sinatra sings in English and Jobim adds his part in his native language. The English sounds clunky while the Portuguese comes off as lilting and fluid. But Frank is always smooth. As proof, consider the way in which he delivers these lines from “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars (Corcovado)” with a romantic flair: “Believing that life was only a bitter and tragic joke / have found with you / the meaning of existence / o my love.” Sinatra takes your breath away and makes you want to bow down to love.

Of course, Sinatra is able to do this with more conventional tunes. He can make a line like “When fortune cries ’Nay, Nay' to me” from Cole Porter’s “I Concentrate on You” sound as natural as someone asking how’s the weather. What Jobim adds to this and the other nine songs from the original album from 1967 is a bossa nova beat and tropical rhythms. His nylon-string guitar sounds as inviting as the summer wind, and the percussionists Jobim brought to the orchestral sessions keep the tempo lively without ever playing fast.

The second ten songs from this 20-track disc were recorded two years later. Sinatra was unhappy with the results and initially killed the disc after it was ready for release (it came out as an eight-track tape, but the album was not issued). Frank later allowed seven of the cuts to appear on the album Sinatra & Company in 1971 and the other three cuts have shown up on later Sinatra compilations. This new release is the first time all 20 songs have appeared on the same disc.

It’s unclear why Sinatra objected to these last ten tracks. His voice may sound a little forced on cuts like “Water to Drink (Aqua de Beber)” and “Someone to Light Up My Life”, but this is compensated by the fact that Frank does sound a bit more mature. The breeziness of the first disc has been replaced by a more reflective artist. The last three cuts that Sinatra found most abhorrent (“Wave”, “Desafinado (Off-Key)” and “Bonita”) feature him singing in a lower pitch, but he hits the notes with authority. Sinatra’s voice may rumble at times, but this makes the times he soars come off as even more inspiring. The phrasing is still perfect, and the intentional atonal notes of “Desafinado (Off-Key)” are sung passionately.

Jobim keeps a lower profile throughout the 20 songs. While they are co-billed and at times sing duets, this is clearly Sinatra’s show. Tom brought almost all the songs and the style in which they were performed. He was smart enough or humble enough to contribute and then stay out of the way. The high quality of the results, still potent more than 30 years after they were recorded, suggest Jobim took the right course of inaction.

9

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

Keep reading... Show less

Barry Lyndon suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

Keep reading... Show less
10

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less
8

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow shines on her impressive interpretation of Fontella Bass' classic track "Rescue Me".

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow pays tribute to the classic Chicago label Chess Records on her new album Playing Chess, which was produced by Steve Greenberg, Mike Mangini, and the legendary Betty Wright. Unlike many covers records, LeGrow and her team of musicians aimed to make new artistic statements with these songs as they stripped down the arrangements to feature leaner and modern interpretations. The clean and unfussy sound allows LeGrow's superb voice to have more room to roam. Meanwhile, these classic tunes take on new life when shown through LeGrow's lens.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image