I wanted another pass at this, particularly because I really loved the arrangement, and I had a chance to work it a bit.
The thing about anything creative is there are times when you are prolific and there are times when you aren't. Writer's block, for example, and obviously, it can happen with other creative forms, as well. In this case, it wasn't that I was not working on stuff, I just wasn't happy with what I was producing. As these guys said...
Ultimately, I have always wanted to do a version of "You and Me (We Wanted it All)" and this arrangement captured a lot of the Sinatra version from his "Trilogy" album. I love the reflective nature of the lyrics, for much the same reason I love "Send in the Clowns." Full of regret for things you screwed up. Anyway, hope you enjoy...
This song always stirred a little controversy in my family. My Mother couldn't stand it, but my Grandpop loved it: Stephen Sondheim's Send in the Clowns from the 1973 musical A Little Night Music. I side with Grandpop.
I think Grandpop enjoyed Judy Collins's take. Barbra Streisand recorded a version in the 80s which was very popular. Not surprising to you, I'm sure, Frank Sinatra's version is my favorite. He recorded it for 1973's Ol' Blue Eyes is Back, arranged by the great Gordon Jenkins, but I think Sinatra took it to another level when he sang it live, and there are a number of live recordings out there — it became a staple for him.
Interestingly, I read Bobby Short was the first to record it in a pop setting. I haven't heard that before, I'll be checking it out right after I'm done here. But I could imagine it being perfect for his unique voice and delivery.
At any rate, here's mine. I'm not sure I lived up to all of Sondheim's intricate instructions on how to deliver the lyrics, so hopefully he never finds himself down a rabbit hole on social media and comes across this. I assume he's got a lot of better things to do.
I've been singing this tune for years, beginning with a big band I was in in southeastern Pennsylvania in the late 90s, which had a beautiful arrangement of it.
Of course, Frank Sinatra famously recorded it with Tommy Dorsey during the Second World War. He also recorded it twice more, once as a ballad on 1962's "Point of No Return," and once as a helluva swinger arranged by Sy Oliver on 1961's "I Remember Tommy." (The swinger is a lot of fun to play, particularly as a trombone player. I had the chance to do that with a band outside of Winchester, Va. a few years ago.)
But, by far, the most beautiful rendition I have heard was performed by Tony Bennett on his Sinatra tribute album, "Perfectly Frank." Mr. Sinatra considered Bennett one of the finest singers around, and we all know Tony Bennett is a performer of exquisite taste. Rather than do a boilerplate tribute, he sang the songs Sinatra made famouse, but he sang them his way.
I was so pleased to find a chart of the arrangement, and had to give it a whirl.
Yes, obviously, Sinatra influenced again.
The Sinatra/Jobim sessions yielded much beautiful work. You can't help but be whisked off in your mind to a warm sandy beach somewhere, It's my go-to soundtrack for that kind of thing, which is probably why it's on my mind, stuck inside, sheltering on a rainy day.
Mr. Sinatra was taken with the bossa nova movement, and it shows. He was always motivated by the music. If something was schlock in his opinion, the audience knew it (doo-be-doo, anyone?) His work with Jobim produced some of the most warm and tender work of his career and I think he was somewhat disappointed it was a short-lived trend in the popular music world.
Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars) may be the most visually-evocative arrangements of their collaboration. Sinatra at his best is unequaled in his ability to the heart of the music — he is that guy in One for my Baby, you are there listening to the guitar looking at that view in Corcovado.
The lyric is simply beautiful, "I who was lost and lonely believing life was only a bitter tragic joke have found in you, the meaning of existence, oh my love." All credit to Gene Lees for that. Music critic. Biographer. Lyricist. And journalist — imagine that?
No small feet building an interesting GarageBand arrangement from iReal chords, then. In the immortal words of Slap Shot's Dickie Dunn, I tried to capture the spirit of the thing. I hope I succeeded.
Been a few days since I posted a new one, sorry. There were a lot of elements I was trying to get right on this one, and I tore it down more than once.
This is a favorite song. Sid Mark often plays Frank Sinatra Jr.'s version on his "Sounds of Sinatra" program. Considering he left us far too soon, the lyrics are particularly poignant, I'm guessing for both the host and listener.
Frank Jr.'s version was on his final studio effort, 2006's "That Face." I think his voice had really found itself on that album, though, according to the Allmusic review he later expressed regret — he recorded it while being treated for prostate cancer and felt the vocals were not up to snuff.
Regardless, it helps to have arrangements by Nelson Riddle and Don Costa, and he had also directed the orchestra for his father's performances for a good many years. There were some top-notch players in the orchestra, including Bill Watrous and Carl Fontana. So I think it is a good effort.
My version is a combination of chords built off a piece of sheet music and processed through iReal, then imported into GarageBand. Some of the additional effects were written in iWriteMusic.
I'm beginning to find as much as GarageBand offers for free, there are things I wish it could do better, and the sounds lean a little to far to creating pop riffs. I mat have to start looking into alternatives. But I've learned enough I may have to go back and rework earlier efforts.
Anyway, I'm grateful for the listen. As always, be kind, and keep creating.
Chris has been involved with big band, jazz and dance bands for over 30 years in central and southeastern Pennsylvania, the Washington DC metro region and the four-state area of Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. A multi-instrumentalist, Chris has also performed in symphonic bands, brass quintets, orchestras and pit orchestras. He has served as a featured vocalist with the Swing Fever Dance Band and Brooks Tegler Big Band. Chris served as president of the Swing Fever Dance Band in 2002 and was a founding member of the Sound Advice Big Band. Chris is open to all opportunities and genres of music, and is happy playing any book in a section.
WITH THE SWING FEVER DANCE BAND
Instruments: Trombone, trumpet, vocals, valve trombone, superbone, flugelhorn, mellophone and euphonium.
Interests/Experience: Big Band, Dance Band, Lab Band, Small Group Jazz, Swing, Trad/Hot Jazz, Western Swing, Great American Songbook, Barbershop, Harmony Groups, Rock, R&B, Soul, Funk, Country, Eclectic, Symphonic Bands, Orchestras, Pit Orchestra
Selected venues and events:
Recordings: Swing Fever Dance Band: Something to Swing About: 20 Years of Swing Fever
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