In 1967, singer Frank Sinatra and singer/guitarist Antonio Carlos Jobim
recorded their much-celebrated Francis Albert Sinatra/Antonio Carlos Jobim
(originally released on Warner/Reprise), a collection of Jobim compositions alongside a handful of American standards. Though not a top ten record at the time, it was well-received enough to justify a follow-up, so two years later the two reunited for another series of sessions for an album that would have been titled Sinatra/Jobim.
, which was eventually pulled from the shelves and was, for years, regarded as one of Sinatra's great "lost" albums. Until now.
According to Stan Cornyn's liner notes on the long overdue Sinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings, Sinatra/Jobim was pulled under the orders of Sinatra himself, who apparently believed he sounded like he was struggling, and that the lyrics felt "translated." The tapes lay dormant until Sinatra, allegedly under pressure from Jobim, finally agreed to release seven tracks in 1971, alongside some pop songs produced by Don Costa on Sinatra & Company (Reprise). The three remaining tunes would eventually be released as flop singles. Sinatra and Jobim would never again work together, except for a duet on "Fly Me To The Moon" on the 1994 Sinatra disc Duets II (Capitol). But they didn't meet in the studio then, as Jobim recorded his parts from his studio in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Forty years later, those tracks finally see a full release alongside the original 10 tracks from the 1967 disc. The two sessions are remarkably different. While the 1967 sessions are very easygoing, thanks to Claus Ogermann
's arrangements, the 1969 recordings swing harder. Also, Jobim's songwriting had grown more sophisticated and harder to play, and it's clear how hard Sinatra was working on tunes like "The Song of The Sabia" and "This Happy Madness." Eumir Deodato
was a whole generation younger than most in the sessions, so he was much more daring than Ogerman. The orchestra stands otr more, and Sinatra seems to let his voice ring a little more freely than his previously more controlled performance. Jobim also sounds a bit looser, and his vocal support is more present than it was on the first discto the point of singing a duet on "Desafinado."
Sinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings as a full set comes at the right time, as bossa nova is enjoying a revival in the US, Europe and even in Brazil through the voices of the genre's next generation, including Rosa Passos, Bebel Gilberto
and Daniel Jobim. It's essential listening for both old-time and novices to the musical style that swept America in the19 60s and continues to influence pop music to this day.
Personnel: Frank Sinatra: vocals; Antonio Carlos Jobim: guitar, vocals; Claus Ogerman: conductor, arrangements (1-10); Eumir Deodato: arrangements (11-20); Morris Stoloff: conductor; Dom Um Romao: drums; Al Viola: Guitar (3);Bill Miller: piano; others uncredited.