Frank Sinatra – Come Dance With Me

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Artist: Frank Sinatra (with Billy May and his Orchestra)
Genre: Vocalist, Big Band, Swing
Title: Come Dance With Me
Released:1959
Label:Capitol
Format:Vinyl
Musicians: Frank Sinatra – vocals, Billy May – arranger, conductor
Heinie Beau – arranger

Come Dance with Me! was Sinatra’s most successful album, spending two and a half years on the Billboard charts. Stereo Review wrote in 1959 that “Sinatra swaggers his way with effortless verve through an appealing collection of bouncy standards, aptly described in the album notes as ‘vocals that dance'”.

This is my favorite type of Sinatra sound I like to call “the swingin era”. This is not the best pressing or is it? The vocals are a bit noisy, but this was done in 1959 after all.

I’m not going to breakdown the entire LP here, but my favorite cut is:
“Something’s Gotta Give” (Johnny Mercer) – 2:38 – “Something’s Gotta Give” is a popular song with words and music by Johnny Mercer in 1954. It was published in 1955. It was written for and first performed by Fred Astaire in the 1955 musical film Daddy Long Legs, and was nominated for an Academy Award in 1955 as Best Original Song, losing to Love is a Many Splendored Thing. The song playfully uses the irresistible force paradox – which asks what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object – as a metaphor for a relationship between a vivacious woman and an older, world-weary man. The man, it is implied, will give in to temptation and kiss the woman. The song’s lyrics echo the plot of Daddy Long Legs, in which a reserved man in his 50s (Astaire) falls in love with a woman in her early 20s.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Something%27s_Gotta_Give_(song)

MUSIC:5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars
SOUND:5_Star_Rating_System_3_stars

Somethings Gotta Give: https://youtu.be/ImXxbqTvov8

David Zasloff – Born To Be Happy

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Artist: David Zasloff
Title: Born To Be Happy
Released: 1994
Label: Zasloff Records
Genre: Jazz
Format: CD
Musicians: David Zasloff-Vocals, Sakuhachi flute, Trumpet, Rhythm Guitar, Timbales and cowbells, Steve McLalan-Lead guitar & all guitar solos, Jim McGrath-Percussion, Peter Marshall- Bass, Richard Martinez-Drums, Angela Carol Brown, Lesa MacEwan, Jennifer Meller, Danny Peck & Teresa Tudury-backing vocal group
Producer: David Zasloff & Richard Martinez
Engineer: Steve Shepard, Mastered by Jeff Silverman
Not an easy CD to get.

How I came about this album is rather weird. I was at the OC Home and Garden show back in 1994 and heard what sounded like live music coming from somewhere and it sounded interesting to me. Unable to ignore my curiosity, I had to go seek out where this sound was coming from. I just followed my ears and that led me to a stage in one corner of the huge building. When I saw the source of the music I was blown away, there was this guy on stage who looked exactly like Steve Martin and in between songs he was funny and joking around! I recalled that Steve Martin is a musician as well, but what the hell would he be doing at a home and garden show? Answer: He wouldn’t.
Now knowing it was not Steve Martin of course, I settled in and listened to the whole show which I had already missed a song and a half. They played several though, but I don’t recall exactly how many, I think it was around six.
It exceeded the venue in terms of quality. These folks were serious musicians. No jumping around, no flashing lights, no extra stuff, just straight music and it was a joy to watch and listen. Each person was also show cased at different times in the concert as well. The band was simply well beyond playing gigs at such things as a home show.
I looked around and I remember there were maybe 40 people watching the concert.
After the show I did something I normally never do and walked right up and purchased a CD with all due speed. I recall that I was one of only two or three people who bought one. Pretty poor showing for such great talent in my opinion. I then spent another 15 to 20 minutes talking to a couple of the musicians and other associated folks about the music and show. I walked away thinking “of all the places to catch a concert and one like this”!

This CD is somewhat rare, but is available direct from David Zasloff and he is still making music. It is available in MP3 format on Amazon, but don’t get it in that format, please.

This CD has what I would call a “recovery” influence, which makes sense because it so happens I found that Mr. Zasloff and the other musicians are all recovering from one thing or another.
So let’s get into it:

  1. Oh Boy Oh Boy-This opening track has a world afro flavor and features David on flute. The words (as with all the songs) are simple and positive, but overall the song is great. There is a good percussive break and by the time your half way into the song, you’re in a good mood.
  2. I Am Not Afraid Of Love-This is more of a jazz fusion tune featuring David Zasloff on trumpet and vocals. Great groove, the bass doesn’t sound as defined as one might think it should be, but it fits well, good percussion work and David does some scat singing.
  3. Manhattan Tokyo-This is one tune that I remember hearing at the show, featuring David on Shakuhachi flute. This is an instrumental number with a kind of Men At Work flavor without the vocals and synths. I’d describe it as aboriginal fusion with an Asian flavor. The percussion break will get you moving or tapping however I think the panning is a little overdone.
  4. African Lullabye-Obvious afro style number with a neat break and just a fun tune.
  5. Warm Heart – This is another instrumental number that is more up tempo and really speeds up after the bridge. When hearing this it is hard to tell if it is computer generated at one point or done live. I can tell you without doubt that there are no computers involved because I saw it performed live.
  6. Living In The Universe-I don’t recall if I saw them play this one or not, but it has a great groove and hook and the lyrics are a bit more thought out. This one is a real toe tapper and you’ll be singing along by the time your halfway through.
  7. You Give Me Freedom From The Blues-This is another instrumental I saw played live. It’s kind of a blues fusion number with a mellow mood combined with chill and the bass is featured nicely in the bridge.
  8. Born To Be Happy-Obviously the title track and another I recall seeing live.  It’s one of my two very most favorite tracks on the album. This is a fun toe tapper with kind of a blues flavor in the lyrics. Great percussion, listen to the supportive hand percussion work, it really carries the tune well. The guitar work is the rhythm support and the whole track is mixed very well, which can also be said about the majority of this album.
  9. Go Slow-Another instrumental with interesting percussion work. Kind of a jazz fusion, chill/lounge feel.
  10. Tomorrow-Instrumental again that is up tempo with a percussion lead in. It has a spanish/rio/cuban feel to it. If I had to choose a least favorite on this LP, this would be it, but it’s still a hard choice.

If you are not toe tapping by at least the second track into this album, check your pulse.

For your enjoyment, here is a little taste:https://youtu.be/xI06J9o5nM4

Music=5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars
Sound=5_Star_Rating_System_4_and_a_half_stars

 

 

Buddy Rich – Mercy Mercy (Live at Caesars Palace)

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Artist: Buddy Rich and his band
Title: Mercy, Mercy (Live at Caesars Palace)
Released:1968
Label: World Pacific Jazz / Liberty Records
Format: Vinyl
Genre: Jazz
Musicians: Buddy Rich-Drums, Walter Namuth-Guitar, William Prince, Al Porcino, Kenneth Faulk, David Culp-Trumpet, Jim Trimble, Richard Stepton, Peter Graves-Trombone, Don Menza, Art Pepper, Charles Owens, Pat LaBarbera, John Lewis-Sax, Joe Azarello-Piano, Gary Walters-Bass
Producer: Richard Brock
Engineer: Bill Porter

This record was recorded live at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas. In the liner notes Buddy Rich said, “This was the best thing we’ve ever done.”
Side One:
Mercy Mercy Mercy – The sound of this track is typical of the time and includes some whimsy. The dynamics are great and MR. Rich keeps things rolling along laying down a solid rhythm and beat. It illustrates the tone, style and tension of a Don Menza performance. The arrangement was written by Phil Wilson who used to play in Woody Herman’s band.
Preach and Teach – According to the notes in the album, this is a bright, gospel-like, waltz-time blues arranged by Don Sebesky. To me it is more like a Brubeck style number which is led in by the drums. There is also a difficult time break in this song and you hear the strength of Buddy Rich’s drumming.
Channel 1 Suite – Sounds kind of like something you hear with a crime action/drama TV movie from the seventies to me. It is the longest song on the album clocking in at almost 13 minutes. From the notes: This is an original work by Bill Reddie, the Las Vegas writer whose West Side Story medley has been the most requested number. It’s a suberbly organized work in terms of pacing, changes of tempo, meter and mood. Written in three movements, In the second movement Don Menza (sax) takes a long unaccompanied solo. The third movement, a minor 16-bar statement (per the notes) includes a drum solo.

Side Two:
Big Mama Cass – The notes say nothing about Mama Cass from The Mamas & Papas, so it’s unknown if there is any reference to her. I’d like to think it’s a tip of the hat though.
Goodbye Yesterday -After a light textured opening, it builds into a fast 3/4 tempo. This sounds like a filler track at first listen, but it’s one of the better numbers on the LP, so it is not “filler”.
Acid Truth – This is described by Buddy Rich as “a shouting blues”. You could call this acid-blues (is that a sub-genre?). The brass section makes it sound like a burlesque stripper may jump out of the speakers any minute.
Alfie – This is a cover of Burt Bacharach with a different interpretation. I like the original better though, but that’s just me.
Ode To Billy Joe – This is a cover of the famous Bob Gentry song that has been covered by other artists and popular during that time. Here it is played unexpectedly fast and with intensity. Of course this one also includes the obligatory drum solo towards the end.

This is one of the very well recorded (and quietest) live LP’s I’ve heard. It may have likely been recorded by direct feed into the board as not much of the audience is heard. This may also be due to not having microphones tuned to pick up the audience intentionally. The staging is kind of on the narrow side for a live LP as well. It sounds like there was a lot of studio mixing done. However, if you listen real close you will hear Buddy Rich count off the start of a few songs.

Music = 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars
Sound = 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars