Pete Brady Big Band

With a Song in My Heart

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In the 1960s after Frank Sinatra left Capitol Records to start his own label, a young man out of Florida was signed by the label to fill Sinatra's shoes. Before that Pete Brady gained some recognition with The Way the West Was Won for RCA. But Brady disappeared from view for almost 30 years because of a tennis mishap. He was hit in the throat with a tennis racket, a major setback to becoming the next Sinatra. Back in Florida fronting a big band and once more singing, this was his first album after many years. Ironically, his strong tenor/baritone recalls not so much the style of Sinatra as it does Tony Bennett's, capturing Bennett's special vibrancy as he sings the songs Bennett sang. Whatever damage was done in that tennis game has obviously been corrected. Brady's wide range allows him to reach high notes with ease as he handles a program of 15 familiar standards backed by a band that carries his name but is led by Mike Lewis. Lewis also supplied charts perfectly suited for Brady's delivery. On most of the ballads, a string section is added to create a dream sequence sensation, much the same way Nelson Riddle did for Sinatra, creating a warm, sumptuous feel. The arrangement and Brady's handling of "Stardust," as an example, are simply elegant. For most of the up-tempo material, the strings are dropped creating a jazzier feel on tunes such as "Up a Lazy River" and a sparkling "With a Song in My Heart." On some cuts, Brady is backed by a combo. Brady's obvious delight in the material engages the listener right from the first track and carries through the entire session. Recommended.

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