Tag Archives: Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra’s “Best of Vegas” — I’m All In!

31 Jan

A new Sinatra release is always a cause for celebration. That is especially true when you’re talking about LIVE recordings. Better yet if the live material includes performances from the ’50s and ’60s (my favorite era of Frank’s stellar career). The first 9 tracks on this collection fall into that friendly territory. The initial 3 tunes (following the introduction) were recorded at The Sands in 1961 — ring a ding ding! Tracks 5-9 are even better, thanks to the participation of conductor Quincy Jones and the amazing Count Basie Orchestra.

The music swings throughout this 17-track live collection and boasts several 1980′s performances captured at Caesar’s Palace and the Golden Nugget. Nuggets found here include Pennies from Heaven and New York New York. Have the earmuffs ready as Old Blue Eyes employs some salty language during his sometimes lengthy and always engaging between song stage patter. Hey, Frankie had some great pipes … but he wasn’t exactly a choir boy.

In the span of a few years, Las Vegas refueled Frank Sinatra’s career and Sinatra in turn became the lead figure in the city’s ascendance. It was a synergistic relationship that has since become legendary in the annals of 20th century entertainment.

Some of the finest moments in that legendary symbiosis are captured in Frank Sinatra: Best of Vegas, a series of live recordings presented by Concord Records. The 14-song set, under license from Frank Sinatra Enterprises (FSE), captures Sinatra in concert at the Sands, Caesars Palace and the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas between 1961 and 1987. The collection is a distillation of highlights from Sinatra: Vegas, the five-disc boxed set (4 CD/1 DVD) of live recordings released by Reprise Records in 2006.

 

“From his debut at the Desert Inn in September 1951, no entertainer was ever more synonymous with the city of Las Vegas than Frank Sinatra,” says Charles Pignone, author of The Sinatra Treasures, in his comprehensive liner notes to the Best of Vegas CD. “It has been said that next to legalized gambling, nothing has been more beneficial and profitable to Las Vegas than Frank Sinatra.”

All the Sinatra classics are here, performed live before adoring crowds at some of the most prestigious venues in the history of Vegas. “The Lady Is a Tramp” (The Sands, 1961); “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” (The Sands, 1966); “All or Nothing at All” (Caesars Palace, 1982); “Pennies From Heaven” (The Golden Nugget, 1987); and of course, the “Theme From New York, New York” (Caesars Palace, 1982) are just some of the gems in the Best of Vegas collection. 

“If you were in Las Vegas at the same time as Sinatra, there was nothing else that could compare,” says Pignone. “Even when the entertainment in town was changing from headliners to magic and production shows, Sinatra was still the ‘main event.’”

Or in the words of Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman, Sinatra was “the destination’s most enduring icon, an inimitable original who was influential in shaping Las Vegas’ image and entertainment scene.”

Sinatra returned to Vegas in December with the opening of Sinatra Dance With Me, at the Wynn Las Vegas. Conceived, choreographed and directed by Twyla Tharp, Sinatra Dance With Me features original recorded masters of Frank Sinatra with a big band and 14 of the world’s finest dancers.

www.sinatrafamily.com

Lunch at Palm Beach’s legendary Ta-boo

31 Dec

The interior at Ta-boo has an Old Florida, monkey jungle kind of look. They are located in the heart of Worth Avenue, which is Palm Beach’s version of Rodeo Drive. Neiman Marcus, Cartier, Tiffany … they are all here. So you would expect the clientele at Ta-boo to be more than a little bit snobby. But that isn’t necessarily the case. Lots of tourists flock here to tap into the magical vibe created by folks like JFK, Frank Sinatra, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. They have all dined here. Further, the prices are not out of this world high — a pleasant surprise!

The Black Currant iced tea (above) is a good beverage choice to get your meal started. They will also bring you some good bread and butter. The menu is pretty extensive with lots of salads and fresh seafood choices. The Atlantic Ocean is just a few blocks to the east of Ta-boo’s front door.

I opted for the Pistachio Encrusted Salmon (seen above). My family was encouraging me to order a dish called the Crab Stack, but I locked in on the salmon dish. Guess I will have to try the Crab Stack (a mountain of freshly picked lump crab meat with accompanying sauces) when I visit again next year. I was very pleased with the choice I made. The salmon was cooked perfectly and the nutty pistachio crust was right down my alley.

Eileen really loved this shrimp and pasta entree (above). She remarked that it was not as heavy as many similar dishes she has ordered in other restaurants. The shrimp were plump and fresh and the sauce was olive oil & parmesan based rather than the typical goopy, white alfredo mixture.

A look at the interior dining area at Ta-b00.

The swanky bar at Ta-boo.

The entire meal for 2 with the icea teas ran about $40 dollars. That we could easily afford. The $600 woman’s sandals we spotted later at Neiman Marcus? Well, that’s a completely different story.

www.taboorestaurant.com

Best Pizza on Siesta Key — “Bada Bing!”

5 Jun

Those of you who know me well know how much I enjoy a good pizza. I mean a really good pizza … made by professionals who know what they are doing … not some pimply-faced geek pulling minimum wage. Great pizza made with “amore” is increasingly difficult to find these days. Yet turn on the TV and The Sopranos seem to have a great pie joint on every corner. It’s just not fair, right?

Thankfully, I discovered such a joint on Florida’s Siesta Key. We lived on the Key for a couple years and learned very quickly that this was a go-to pizza hangout. Real pizza. Jersey-style pizza. Made by a couple of brothers named Solorzano. Their folks run an authentic Italian restaurant — just a couple miles away in Sarasota. The brothers operate a cozy little pizza shop just a short stroll from the white sands of Siesta Beach. Follow your schnozz, you’ll find it. Once you’re there, locals will give you a knowing wink. You’ll be on to their little secret.

You’re likely to hear classic songs like this while you sip on your chianti

They’ve got all the traditional Italian delights you’d expect at Solorzano Brothers. And they’re all magnifico. But just like Sinatra was a notch above Bennett, and DiMaggio a more prolific slugger than Rizzuto, Solorzano’s gelato, calzones, & pastas are ultimately overshadowed by the big boss — PIZZA PIE.

Another example of the soundtrack to your primo Solorzano’s meal

Have a look at the above pie. Now that’s an offer you truly can’t refuse!!!

You can load your pizza up with all the toppings you want, but I still prefer to go straight pepperoni. Why clutter up a good thing, huh? No need to “guild the lilly” at Solorzanos — let the real Italian flavor shine through. Take in all the ambiance too. The brothers will likely be talking trash behind the counter … or maybe bragging about their favorite New York sports teams … or debating their favorite episode of The Sopranos. Tony Soprano’s mug hangs proudly on the wall alongside images of Old Blue Eyes, ex-Giants QB Phil Simms, Al Pacino, or perhaps an old Dean Martin album cover. Just what you’d expect from a couple of pizanos from Hoboken. And all the stuff I wanna see at a REAL pizza joint.  

Tony says “Just get to Solorzano’s right now … capiche???”

http://www.facebook.com/#!/solbrospizza?ref=ts

Sinatra & Jobim – Complete Reprise Recordings

24 Apr


COMING MAY 4 ON CONCORD RECORDS

I am a massive fan of both Old Blue Eyes and ACJ, so any combination of the two legendary performers really sends me. I have long owned an LP copy of their first 10-song collaboration and it remains a frequent visitor to my aging turntable. Their 2nd 10-song effort was killed by Sinatra shortly after its planned release by Warner-Reprise. Frankie apparently was just not comfortable with 3 of the tracks and, being Frank, he squashed the project in true Sinatra-style. “Kill it, baby.” I can just hear him saying that to a non-plussed Warner executive. The two artists were white hot in the 1960s and I’m sure the Warner-Reprise brash had big $$$ in their eyes.

But, as we now know, Sinatra was a perfectionist and a pretty persuasive cat to boot. So, the “lost recordings” lingered in darkness for many years to follow. Some tracks have been added to various collections thru the years, but not until now have all 20 tunes been gathered in one, professionally packaged release. It’s quite a compelling contrast of two very different men who somehow found common ground in the bossa nova sounds of Brazil. Frank was loud, opinionated, and full of Hoboken bravado.  Jobim was sensitive, thoughtful, and shy. Jobim: “I am often afraid. You do not know fear.” Sinatra: “I guess you’re right. I don’t know much fear.” Bada bing – zoom! 
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — In 1967, Frank Sinatra teamed up with Brazilian singer, pianist, guitarist, composer and songwriter Antonio Carlos Jobim to record an album that married the Chairman’s signature vocals with rhythms from the master of bossa nova. The resulting album, Francis Albert Sinatra/Antonio Carlos Jobim, reached #19, remaining on Billboard’s rock-dominated album chart for 28 weeks.

Forty-four years later, on May 4, 2010, Concord Music Group, on license from Frank Sinatra Enterprises (FSE), will release a deluxe reissue of the Sinatra/Jobim classic including all ten songs from the original album plus seven songs from a subsequent collaboration between the two, and three songs from that session that were not released until decades later, when they were included in a box set. Sinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings features digital remastering and expanded liner notes by Stan Cornyn, longtime head of creative services at Warner/Reprise and author of the book about the Warner Music Group, Exploding.

Sinatra and Jobim gathered at Hollywood’s Western Recorders for three nights, January 30 through February 1, 1967. Jobim brought the beat in the form of bossa nova percussionists and arrangers. Sinatra supplied the producer (Sonny Burke), the string arranger/conductor (Claus Ogerman) and the rest of the orchestra. The resulting session produced ten songs including the classic “The Girl From Impanema” plus “Dindi,” “How Insensitive [Insensatez],” “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars” and six others. (After bidding até a vista to Jobim, Sinatra, on the high of making one of his finest albums ever, stayed at the studio to record a duet with daughter Nancy that would reach #1 on the charts, “Something Stupid.”)

Two years later, Sinatra and Jobim returned to Western Recorders to record ten more bossa novas for a shorter-titled follow-up: Sinatra-Jobim. Replacing Ogerman was a 26-year-old long-haired arranger named Eumir Deodato (later to be known for his 1973 jazz version of Richard Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra [2001]”). The songs were all written or co-written by Jobim, many with unusual melodic twists. Producer Burke enlisted conductor Morris Stoloff to ensure a pop feel to the session.

After three nights, the album was wrapped, and was readied for release in the fall of 1969. The eight-track version of the album had shipped when the call was placed to Warner/Reprise’s Burbank, Calif. offices. It was Sinatra, demanding that the label “kill the album,” so Warner recalled most of the recordings. A 2005 Goldmine story reported that the rare eight-track would command $5000.

Sinatra later agreed to permit Reprise to release seven of the Sinatra-Jobim vocal tracks on the album Sinatra & Company. It reached #73 and remained on the album chart for 15 weeks in 1971.

The cover of classic first Sinatra-Jobim duo release

More than 40 years later, the airport in Rio has been named Antonio Carlos Jobim International. And an American postage stamp honored Frank Sinatra. And the Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim and Sinatra-Jobim albums have been combined to form Concord’s Sinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings set.

8-Track Packaging of rare “killed” 1969 recording

An amazing video peek at the Sinatra-Jobim collaboration

Frankie and “Tom” Jobim listening to playback

Old Blue Eyes with Antonio Carlos Jobim

19 May

Saw this clip on TCM recently — didn’t even know it existed. A great meeting of musical masters! Frank was at the top of his hipster game and Jobim had recently introduced bossa nova to the masses.

Enjoy the clip … and get this CD or LP if you can find it.

Perfecto!

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