August 1, 2015

#41: The sweet spot

Mark Steyn quotes Charles Granata on the quality of Sinatra's voice in "I'll Be Around":

This moment is one of the pluperfect examples (in my opinion) of the 'sweet spot' - the 12-18 month period where his voice sounded like warm, satiny honey. In this period it displays vibrant color, superb depth, and a rich, rounded tone that was unmatched.
Oh yes. Like "This Love Of Mine," it's a song you can immerse yourself in like a warm bath:

Alec Wilder wrote both the words and the music in 1942 and Nelson Riddle arranged the song for 1955's exquisite In the Wee Small Hours. Bob Belvedere mentions Sinatra's performance very honorably, calling it "perfect," and recommends it for wee-small-hours listening.

It's #32 on Mark's Sinatra centenary hit parade and you know he's got the entire back-story on Mr. Wilder, his friendship with Frank, and the song itself:
Over 11 years later, Sinatra returned to "I'll Be Around" for a recording that always held a special place with the composer: "God bless Frank Sinatra for singing the definitive version of this song," said Wilder. Sinatra's take on In The Wee Small Hours (1955) has a spare but gorgeous Nelson Riddle arrangement that matches the translucence of the melody. The recording was made in the actual wee small hours, and using just a four-man rhythm section, on which Sinatra's pianist Bill Miller and guitarist George Van Eps are particularly strong. Frank goes his own-way in the final half-chorus, singing in the fills, but Wilder respected the art of interpretation, and in any case Riddle doesn't mess with the composer's harmonies.
Translucent it is.

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