The sound of Sinatra, the sound of Basie. Two of the great sounds of
the day. Both original, apparently inimitable. Both valid, both potent.
Both have sustained a freshness over two decades or more, while other
sounds - less valid and less potent - have had a flash-in-the-pan appeal
and then quickly faded to become nothing more than a cacophony of dreary
Both with definitive techniques: when Sinatra touches a song, it never
subsequently sounds quite right sung by anyone else; when Basie touches
a piano keyboard, the sound tells you those fingers could belong to only
Both are brilliant music editors: one never sings a superfluous word,
the other never strikes an unnecessary note. Both make clever use of silence
to build interest and suspense. Both constantly cause surprise. Both instinctively
turn the cliché into something special. Both, coincidentally, from New
Many's the sharp ear for the sound-track of the Age that must have coupled
together Sinatra and Basie in the imagination.
Now, happily, an imagination is no longer necessary. On October 2nd,
1962, the coupling became a resonant reality. Sinatra's comment as the
session began: "I've waited twenty years for this moment."
"I've waited twenty years for this moment." So said Frank Sinatra
before entering the studio to begin work on one of the most eagerly anticipated
LPs of the time. Teaming the inimitable vocal stylings of the Chairman
of the Board with the potent, propulsive alchemy of the Count Basie orchestra,
Sinatra-Basie was indeed an album worth the wait.
An historic musical first, Sinatra-Basie features ten extraordinary
selections recorded over a period of two weeks in late 1962. The tune
stack, selected personally by Basie and Sinatra, features a new rendition
of the 1955 Sinatra smash "(Love Is) The Tender Trap," the Leslie
Bricusse perennial "My Kind Of Girl," and the Jerome Kern classic
"I Won't Dance." Other standout cuts include the Gershwins'
"Nice Work If You Can Get It" (here given the definitive Sinatra
treatment), "Pennies From heaven" and "Learnin' The Blues,"
both highlighting Basie's swinging big band sound.
In fact, the Basie band assembled for these sessions must be counted
as one of the very best in the maestro's entire career. The trumpet playing
of Thad Jones, Sonny Cohn and Al Porcino, the trombones of Henry Coker
and Benny Powell, the sax work of Marshall Royal, Eric Dixon and Frank
Wess, guitarist Freddie Green and the rhythm section of Buddy Catlett
(bass) and Sonny Payne (drums), are only a few of the musical delights
illuminating this superstar lineup. Front and center, of course, is Basie's
brilliant piano work and the creative exchange between these two preeminent
artists sparks some of the most purely enjoyable music either has ever
Maybe it was their common New Jersey roots. Maybe it was a longstanding
mutual respect. Or maybe it was just the right place at the right time.
Whatever the combination of talent, luck and timing, Sinatra-Basie
remains a one-of-a-kind recording from two modern musical giants.
Pennies From Heaven
Please Be Kind
(Love Is) The Tender Trap
Looking At The World Thru Rose Colored Glasses
My Kind Of Girl
I Only Have Eyes For You
Nice Work If You Can Get It
Learnin' The Blues
I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter
I Won't Dance