Sinatra & Company

Frank Sinatra

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Sinatra & Company Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

In 1969, Frank Sinatra recorded a second album with Antonio Carlos Jobim. For unknown reasons, Reprise decided not to release Sinatra-Jobim, but seven of the ten songs intended for the record did appear on the first side of 1971's Sinatra & Company. The selections from Sinatra-Jobim have a decidedly different flavor than the material on Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim, largely due to the charts of arranger Eumir Deodato. Where Claus Ogerman's arrangements were quite subdued and understated, Deodato's charts are looser and more relaxed; consequently, the music is lighter, more immediate, and arguably more fun. Sinatra responds to the arrangements with more forceful singing than on the previous Jobim collaboration, but his phrasing is still more nuanced than even his soft pop/rock-oriented material. Nevertheless, that subtle phrasing carries over into the second side of Sinatra & Company, a collection of pop-oriented tracks. Although the music on the second half of the album is neither as adventerous or as compelling as that on the first, it is still highly entertaining. The seven songs were arranged by Don Costa, who keeps the material shiny and commercially oriented. In the case of "Close to You," "Leaving on a Jet Plane," "I Will Drink the Wine," "Bein' Green," and "Sunrise in the Morning," that isn't bad -- this is material that demands to be delivered in slick, polished arrangements. Under Costa's direction, these songs are given arrangements that feature both strings and gentle folk-rock underpinnings, particularly strummed acoustic guitars. Taken on its own terms, the second half of Sinatra & Company ranks as some of his best soft rock-influenced material of the late '60s, even if it doesn't sit comfortably with the excellent bossa nova that comprises the first side of the record.

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