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Reprise Rarities

Frank Sinatra

Jazz - Released September 24, 2021 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

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Reprise Rarities

Frank Sinatra

Jazz - Released August 6, 2021 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

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Reprise Rarities

Frank Sinatra

Jazz - Released May 7, 2021 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

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Reprise Rarities

Frank Sinatra

Jazz - Released February 5, 2021 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

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Reprise Rarities

Frank Sinatra

Jazz - Released December 11, 2020 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

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The Christmas Collection

Frank Sinatra

Christmas Music - Released November 29, 2004 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

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New York

Frank Sinatra

Pop - Released November 3, 2009 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

Without argument, Frank Sinatra is the most iconic American singer of the 20th century. This whopping five-disc set issued by Reprise attempts to define Sinatra by performing in the place that seemingly defined him. It contains 61 never-before-issued performances of the singer in concert appearances in New York from the mid-'50s through to 1990. It also includes a DVD of a performance at Carnegie Hall, taped in 1980 with 16 more performances, for a total of 77 tracks. Disc one features radio broadcasts. Its first four cuts are taken from his appearance at the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra's 20th anniversary gig, broadcast from Manhattan Center in 1955. The selections are all ballads, with the capper being "This Love of Mine." The rest of the disc is from another radio program, recorded at the United Nations in 1963 with Skitch Henderson on piano. It includes not only his sung performances of some of his biggest hits from the '50s, but one of his legendary monologues. The sound on this disc is the most compromised of all. Disc two is comprised of an excellent performance at Carnegie Hall, with Bill Miller conducting the orchestra, and Sinatra's great quartet. This is where we get performances of "My Way," "Send in the Clowns," and "Bad Bad Leroy Brown." Disc three also comes from 1974; recorded at Madison Square Garden, it contains the same core band but also includes Woody Herman & the Thundering Herd. The set list is very close to that of disc two, but this is the most satisfying CD in the set. The final CD showcases two excerpts from concerts at Carnegie Hall in 1984, and from Radio City Music Hall in 1990. Interestingly, in the final show, the orchestra is conducted by Frank Sinatra, Jr.. Finally, the DVD is a complete 1980 show from Carnegie Hall, Sinatra's voice still in fine shape and electrifying. The concert looks and sounds like a career retrospective -- from the '50s on, anyway -- but in place of the ubiquitous "My Way," we get the closing theme "New York, New York." Also included in this longbox formatted set, a 44-page booklet featuring recollections by Frank Jr. Nat Hentoff, Tony Bennett, Yogi Berra,,Twyla Tharp, Martin Scorsese, and William Friedkin (who claims he wanted to cast Sinatra in the lead role in Dirty Harry but was turned down!), and others. It is filled with rare photographs as well. The real question, given the overall uneven sound quality of this collection, and the fact that so much live material of Sinatra's exists already -- most of it produced for release with his blessing and up to his own standards of quality. Some of the tunes here clearly miss, and all of disc four does: why it is even included in this collection since Sinatra's voice is certainly in decline, a lot of the sound is iffy as well. The DVD is arguably the best thing overall in the box, because the connection between performer and audience comes across brilliantly; it could have been -- and should have been -- issued all by itself. Only the hardest core Sinatra fan will really and truly be pleased with this set. For the rest of us, it's ultimately a letdown. One wonders why a performer who was so iconic -- and, for the majority of his career so exacting in the way he pushed himself to excel, need be represented with anything this uneven. No matter how well-intentioned, this effort falls considerably short of the mark. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Best Of Vegas

Frank Sinatra

Jazz - Released February 8, 2011 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

For not completely unconnected reasons, the resurrection of Frank Sinatra's career (after his early bobby-soxer peak and late-'40s fall) coincided with the rise of Las Vegas as the nation's number one entertainment destination. When Sinatra first appeared at the Desert Inn in 1951, his fortunes were at their lowest ebb; his career had fallen far from its mid-'40s peak, and even his personal life lay in a shambles, with a high-profile divorce from his wife and an even higher-profile fling with actress Ava Gardner. Las Vegas, meanwhile, was merely a desert outpost in the '50s, but it began its quick ascent to entertainment greatness just as Sinatra and other entertainers began ensconcing themselves in the friendly confines of venues such as the Sands, Caesars Palace, and the Golden Nugget. Best of Vegas is an effective overview of this facet of Sinatra's career, chronologically compiling four mini sets -- 1961 and 1966 at the Sands, 1982 at Caesars Palace, 1987 at the Golden Nugget -- to show how Sinatra's songcraft and stagecraft evolved over the years. The second set is especially inviting, including songs featuring the Count Basie Orchestra and conducted by Quincy Jones (all but one of which are also available on the 1966 LP Sinatra at the Sands). Listeners wanting the full treatment of Sinatra in Vegas should invest in the box set Sinatra: Vegas, but this 17-track set is a good basic overview. © John Bush /TiVo
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The Concert Sinatra

Frank Sinatra

Jazz - Released May 1, 1963 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

The Concert Sinatra is one of Frank Sinatra's best records of the early '60s, an album that successfully rearranges a selection of show tunes, primarily those composed by Richard Rodgers, for the concert stage. Nelson Riddle arranged and conducted one of the largest orchestras that had ever supported Frank Sinatra, and his work is light and delicate. Despite the large number of musicians, the music is never overbearing -- instead, it is grand and sweeping, providing appropriately epic settings for songs like "Lost in the Stars," "You'll Never Walk Alone," and the stunning "Soliloquy." Sinatra is given the opportunity to demonstrate his full emotional range, from the melodrama of "Ol' Man River" to the tender romanticism of "Bewitched," which helps make The Concert Sinatra one of his most fulfilling albums of the era. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Sinatra/Basie: The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings

Frank Sinatra

Jazz - Released January 1, 2011 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

The long-awaited collaboration between two icons, Count Basie and Frank Sinatra, did something unique for the reputations of both. For Basie, the Sinatra connection inaugurated a period in the '60s when his band was more popular and better known than it ever was, even in the big-band era. For Sinatra, Basie meant liberation, producing perhaps the loosest, rhythmically free singing of his career. Propelled by the irresistible drums of Sonny Payne, Sinatra careens up to and around the tunes, reacting jauntily to the beat and encouraging Payne to swing even harder, which was exactly the way to interact with the Basie rhythm machine -- using his exquisite timing flawlessly. Also, the members of the Basie band play a more prominent role than usual on these two Sinatra records (originally released as Sinatra-Basie and It Might as Well Be Swing), with soloists like Frank Wess -- in some of the finest flute work of his life -- and tenors Frank Foster and Eric Dixon getting prominent solo opportunities on several of the tracks. The music was criticized by some as a letdown when it came out, probably because the charts of Neal Hefti and Quincy Jones rarely permit the band to roar, concentrating on use of subtlety and space. Yet its restraint has worn very well over the long haul. It doesn't beat you into submission, and the treatment of these standards is wonderfully playful. © Richard S. Ginell /TiVo
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Sinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings

Frank Sinatra

Jazz - Released January 1, 2010 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
This compilation album gathers tracks from two sets of recording sessions Frank Sinatra did with Brazilian singer/songwriter Antonio Carlos Jobim, one in 1967 and another in 1969. The first set of sessions in late January and early February 1967 resulted in the ten-track LP Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim, released later in 1967. Jobim joined Sinatra, singing on such tracks as "The Girl from Ipanema," "I Concentrate on You," and "Baubles, Bangles and Beads," with bossa nova arrangements by Claus Ogerman. The second set of sessions held in February 1969 were intended for a follow-up LP to be called SinatraJobim that got as far as having an album cover designed, but never came out. Most of the tracks were issued in 1971, during Sinatra's temporary retirement, on an album called Sinatra & Company, although a couple turned up on singles in the U.S. or overseas, and the Sinatra/Jobim duet "Off Key (Desafinado)" sat in the can for decades, not turning up until the box set The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings in 1995. Despite being separated by two years, the first ten tracks and the second ten fit well together. Sinatra sings gently and sensitively throughout. The chief difference lies in the musical backing, as the 1969 tracks were arranged by Eumir Deodato, with orchestra conducted by Morris Stoloff, and they have less of a Brazilian feel. Still, the sessions have always belonged together on a single disc, and they constitute a special niche in the Sinatra catalog. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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September Of My Years

Frank Sinatra

Jazz - Released August 1, 1965 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
September of My Years is one of Frank Sinatra's triumphs of the '60s, an album that consolidated his strengths while moving him into new territory, primarily in terms of tone. More than the double-disc set A Man and His Music -- which was released a year after this album -- September of My Years captures how Sinatra was at the time of his 50th birthday. Gordon Jenkins' rich, stately, and melancholy arrangements give the album an appropriate reflective atmosphere. Most of the songs are new or relatively recent numbers; every cut fits into a loose theme of aging, reflection, and regret. Sinatra, however, doesn't seem stuck in his ways -- though the songs are rooted in traditional pop, they touch on folk and contemporary pop. As such, the album offered a perfect summary, as well as suggesting future routes for the singer. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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The World We Knew

Frank Sinatra

Jazz - Released August 1, 1967 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

More of a singles collection than a proper album, The World We Knew illustrates how heavily Frank Sinatra courted the pop charts in the late '60s. Much of this has a rock-oriented pop production, complete with fuzz guitars, reverb, folky acoustic guitars, wailing harmonicas, drum kits, organs, and brass and string charts that punctuate the songs rather than provide the driving force. Many of the songs recall the music Nancy Sinatra was making at the time, a comparison brought into sharp relief by the father-daughter duet "Somethin' Stupid," yet the songs Sinatra tackles with a variety of arrangers -- including Nancy's hitmaker Lee Hazlewood, Billy Strange, Ernie Freeman, Don Costa, and Gordon Jenkins -- are more ambitious than most middle-of-the-road, adult-oriented soft rock of the late '60s. "The World We Knew" has an odd, winding melody supported by the toughest approximated rock arrangement Sinatra ever used, while "This Town"'s pounding brass and harmonica are quite bluesy. Even the lesser pop tunes are well-crafted and produced; "Don't Sleep in the Subway" sounds as convincing as the Petula Clark original. Sinatra doesn't always sound engaged by the material -- he tosses off "Some Enchanted Evening," getting buried in H.B. Barnum's ridiculously bombastic arrangement -- but he generally turns in fine performances throughout the record, capped off by an exceptional, nuanced version of Johnny Mercer's ballad "Drinking Again" that ranks among the best songs Sinatra cut during the '60s. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Francis A. & Edward K.

Frank Sinatra

Jazz - Released December 12, 1967 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
The much-anticipated collaboration between Frank Sinatra and Duke Ellington, Francis A. & Edward K., didn't quite match its high expectations. At the time of recording, the Ellington band was no longer at its peak, and Sinatra was concentrating on contemporary pop material, not standards. It was decided that the record would be a mixture of standards and new material; as it happened, only one Ellington number, "I Like the Sunrise," was included. Due to a mild cold, Sinatra was not at his best during the sessions, and his performance is consequently uneven on the record, varying between robust, expressive performances and thin singing. Similarly, Ellington and his band are hot and cold, occasionally turning in inspired performances and just as frequently walking through the numbers. But that doesn't mean there is nothing to recommend on Francis A. & Edward K. On the contrary, the best moments on the album fulfill all of the duo's promise. All eight songs are slow numbers, which brings out Sinatra's romantic side. "Indian Summer" is a particular standout, with a sensual vocal and a breathtaking solo from saxophonist Johnny Hodges. Much of the material on the album doesn't gel quite as well, but devoted Sinatra and Ellington fans will find enough to treasure on the record to make it a worthwhile listen. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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A Man Alone: The Words And Music Of McKuen

Frank Sinatra

Jazz - Released August 1, 1969 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

After making a successful mainstream, contemporary pop album with My Way, Frank Sinatra branched out with A Man Alone, subtitled "The Words & Music of McKuen." Unlike most poets, Rod McKuen was extremely popular and successful, selling over a million copies of his books in the late '60s. After meeting at a party, the singer decided to record an entire album of the poet's verse and music. McKuen wrote a selection of new songs and poems for Sinatra; that material became A Man Alone. McKuen's musical contributions amount to tone poems more than songs. Six of the pieces are actual songs, with the remaining tracks being spoken word pieces with instrumental backdrops, including one number that is half-sung and half-spoken without any instrumental accompaniment at all. Certainly, with all this emphasis on words, A Man Alone was intended to be a serious statement, but much of it comes off as embarrassing posturing. McKuen's compositions are lyrically slight and musically insubstantial, but what saves A Man Alone from being a total failure is the conviction of Sinatra's performance, as well as Don Costa's skillful arrangements. Although he's not able to recite the poetry convincingly, Sinatra's singing is textured and passionate, drawing more emotion from the lyrics than are actually there. Similarly, Costa's charts are lush without being sentimental and very sympathetic to Sinatra's vocals, easily masking the compositional weakness. Sinatra and Costa pull so much out of so little on A Man Alone, it makes the listener wish they had applied their talents and ambitions to a similar, but more substantial set of songs. As it stands, the album is an intriguing listen, but ultimately a failure. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Sinatra And Sextet: Live In Paris

Frank Sinatra

Jazz - Released January 1, 1962 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

If you've cringed at the quality of recent Sinatra projects, this 1962 session will remind you of his glorious past. The 26 cuts include many Sinatra signature pieces ("I've Got You Under My Skin," "The Second Time Around," "Night And Day," "Moonlight In Vermont") with backing from an intimate small band that provides lush, supportive frameworks around which Sinatra can build and create his inimitable charm. The session also shows Sinatra at his most loutish, with some crude (even for the time) commentary during the beginning of "One For My Baby," and borderline racist cracks at the end of "Ol' Man River" and start of "The Lady Is A Tramp." But Sinatra's vocal excellence often overcame his idiocy and bad manners, and it does on this fine set. © Ron Wynn /TiVo
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The Main Event - Live

Frank Sinatra

Jazz - Released October 1, 1974 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

Following the release of Some Nice Things I've Missed, Frank Sinatra embarked on a six-concert tour in 1974, working with Woody Herman & the Young Thundering Herd, which was conducted by Bill Miller, Sinatra's longtime pianist. Dubbed "The Main Event," the tour culminated with a televised concert from Madison Square Garden on October 13, 1974. Subtitled "Live From Madison Square Garden," this album isn't an exact document of the concert. Instead, it's a compilation taken from various shows on "The Main Event" tour; on two songs, "I Get a Kick Out of You" and "Let Me Try Again," two performances are spliced together. Even if it constructs a concert -- which the good majority of live albums from the '70s tended to do -- The Main Event is a delight, full of inspired performances. While there are a couple of contemporary numbers thrown in, the majority of the songs are standards, from "The Lady Is a Tramp" to "I've Got You Under My Skin." Both Sinatra and Herman's Herd are lively, spurring each other on to consistently strong performances. Sinatra's singing might be a little too loose for some tastes, as he injects lyrical asides, impressions, and jokes throughout the record, as well as occasionally changing the lyrics by making them a little more "hip." Nevertheless, his singing cannot be faulted. Not only does he sound fine on his trademark numbers, particularly a lovely piano duet on "Angel Eyes," but he brings the contemporary material to life, which he failed to do in the studio. Even with all of its pleasures, The Main Event remains a minor entry in Sinatra's canon -- dedicated fans will certainly find more to cherish here than the casual listener -- but it remains one of his most enjoyable records of the '70s. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Sinatra ’65

Frank Sinatra

Jazz - Released January 1, 1965 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

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Softly, As I Leave You

Frank Sinatra

Jazz - Released November 1, 1964 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

Softly, as I Leave You was Frank Sinatra's first tentative attempt to come to terms with the rock & roll revolution, even if it was hardly a rock & roll album. In fact, it wasn't much of an album to begin with. The highlight of the record was the hit title song, which featured a subdued but forceful and steady backbeat. The rhythm itself was indicative of Sinatra's effort to accept the new popular music. Arranged by Ernie Freeman, "Softly, as I Leave You," "Then Suddenly Love," and "Available" are definitely stabs at incorporating rock & roll into Sinatra's middle-of-the-road pop, featuring drum kits, backing vocals, and keyboards. As pop singles, they were well constructed and deservedly successful. The rest of the album is pieced together from leftovers from various early-'60s sessions, giving the record a decidedly uneven tone. Some of the songs work well as individual moments, particularly the Nelson Riddle-arranged "Emily," but the varying tone is too distracting to make the album a satisfying listen. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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A Man And His Music

Frank Sinatra

Jazz - Released October 6, 1986 | FRANK SINATRA DIGITAL REPRISE

Released around his 50th birthday, A Man and His Music is an ambitious double-album set that provides a brief history of Frank Sinatra's career. Though the concept sounds quite promising in theory, the execution is somewhat lacking. Instead of using the original recordings -- which were made for RCA, Columbia, and Capitol, not his then-current label, Reprise -- Sinatra re-recorded the majority of the album's songs. That in itself isn't bad. Many of the new versions are quite enjoyable, with lively, inspired vocals. However, there is also narration from Sinatra that runs throughout the album. Although it does offer some amusing anecdotes and gives a sense of his long, complex history, the narration prevents the album from being a consistently engaging listen. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo