Sinatra Vs. Other Male Interpreters of the Great American Songbook

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by ShockControl, Jan 19, 2014.

  1. MMM

    MMM Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    Lodi, New Jersey
    Which is a shame. I think Rod is a great singer with some other material. With this stuff? :( Maybe if they only made one of those albums instead of stretching it out to four...
     
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  2. janschfan

    janschfan Forum Resident

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    Nashville, Tn. USA
    Who loves Johnny Hartman? I started listening to him through his album with John Coltrane, and branched out from there......I think he is a masterful interpreter of the Songbook.....There are several good comps out there.
     
  3. ABull

    ABull Forum Resident

    I agree with your assessment of Ella's singing and the TV special.

    The segment of the special featuring Sinatra and Jobim is some of the most beautiful music I've ever heard or seen -- certainly some of the greatest singing (and live!). Just breathtaking in the choice of songs and the intimate artistry of the performances.
     
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  4. rene smalldridge

    rene smalldridge Forum Resident

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    manhattan,kansas
    I really enjoy Tiny Bennett. I Left My Platform Shoes In San Francisco is a great song !
     
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  5. Bemsha

    Bemsha Active Member

    I know that Dino isn't considered to be in the same league as Sinatra, but I always liked him better, he is just so relaxed. But that's my humble opinion...
     
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  6. DLant

    DLant The Dap-Gort Staff

    Location:
    Upstate New York
    1. Frank Sinatra
    2. Johnny Hartman
    3. Nat Cole
     
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  7. wildroot indigo

    wildroot indigo Well-Known Member

    Armstrong in Copenhagen, 1933, this never fails to amaze me...



    It's a singular jazz interpretation, to be sure, as he spontaneously recomposes the melody (for me, Louis is the only singer whose scatting sounds absolutely natural).
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
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  8. D.B.

    D.B. Well-Known Member

    I think those who mention Mel Torme and Johnny Hartman are quite right - those two are up there for sure. With Bennett and Nat. Hartman had a bit of a limited discography, while Mel may be a bit too 'proper jazz' for some.But as interpreters of song, they are incredible.
     
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  9. D.B.

    D.B. Well-Known Member

    Sinatra had such constant quality control though, due to his confidence in himself as an artist, that his body of work is sort of unmatched. Nobody in the genre had such a long run of top releases, covering so much American music.
     
  10. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    To quote Dean, "I'm not great singer or anything. I just croon.." Once when they were doing a benefit together and he was watching Mr. S work over the orchestra in rehearsal, he said to actor Peter Graves; " I don't know what Frank gets so intense about...it's just singin "

    God bless Dean. I miss him so much.
     
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  11. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

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    Hollywood, CA
    I absolutely adore Ella. But her breathing was all off base at times. She would take a breath in mid-sentence like it was nothing. It can really get on my nerves sometimes. But remember that she had zero control of the final take.
     
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  12. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    Torme was too in love with himself and it showed. He sang, did the arrangements, played several instruments (none all that great!) and was just "in charge" too much. But I do own and enjoy some of his stuff. George Shearing seemed to bring out the best in him.
     
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  13. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    A man not mentioned (and I am not surprised as he has sadly fallen off the radar screen) is Sammy Davis, Jr. The man had a great voice but he tried too much to sound like Mr.S. Here was was true multi-talented overall ENTERTAINER!!! He became a caraciture of himself in later life but some of his recordings are truly outstanding!
     
  14. bilgewater

    bilgewater Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Michigan
    Great thread and thoughtful discussion. Has everyone read Will Friedwald's classic book on Jazz Singers? Now that's comprehensive comparison...

    The age of the "great american songbook" is also the age of the microphone singer, so we should recognize the intense importance of Bing Crosby along those lines. Such a world away from, say, Al Jolson or Rudy Vallee. Crosby was the king of all pop for decades (radio, records, movies, TV, concerts). Lucky he was a gringo like his one-time boss Paul Whiteman. That said, he readily credited his colleague Louis Armstrong for teaching singers how to swing popular songs in a jazz manner. Like most jazz people, though, I always preferred Holiday and Armstrong over Crosby (more blue notes, more interesting phrasing, better interaction with horns). What have I been missing, sports fans?

    I don't listen to Bing Crosby for pleasure much, though his confrere Armstrong is just the purest delight on voice and trumpet. Sinatra and Cole are a wonderful next-generation pairing for any collection. Cole's piano playing was also awesome and influential. I prefer Cole in a small jazz group setting or else on the Spanish-language albums. I prefer Sinatra on those big 50s albums like COME FLY WITH ME and SONGS FOR SWINGING LOVERS and ONLY THE LONELY and of course the later album with Jobim. Sinatra's corpus includes some dodgy items too, unless you like "High Hopes," but his dramatic power (as noted above) was extraordinary. That kind of dramatic occupation of the character "expressing" the lyric, and the range of emotional expression he mastered, was incredible. That said, Ella's pure joy and virtuosity is another register, and NOT a lower register of value, by my lights.

    It's scandalous isn't it how a later generation of singers make a living as straight-up Sinatra impersonators. I mean Harry Connick Jr (by far a better pianist than singer, but the general audience always prefers singers) and that nice man Michael Buble. People slag on Madeline Peyroux for weirdly sounding just like Lady Day, but these dudes do it too. I'm shocked, shocked to hear this.
     
  15. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    Bing often sounded like he was singing to himself. I have become a huge fan of his later recordings. they sounded far more real and honest. He had a really fine voice up till his untimely passing.
     
  16. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    I remember the night of the Oscars when Connick sang the theme from "Godfather 3" and he came out looking like a 1945 Mr. S with bow tie and old fashioned mike and did his best Sinatra impression. If I were not a visitor in a friend's home I swear I would have demolished the TV!!!!
     
  17. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    I leave you this evening with someone's vote for Entertainer of the 20th century's famous quote...

    Bing: " Frank Sinatra is a singer who comes along once in a lifetime. Why did it have to be in mine???"
     
  18. SteelyTom

    SteelyTom Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, Mass.
    Louis Armstrong and Mark Murphy are some distance ahead of Frank. I'd prefer Mr. B. over Frank, too, but they're similar singers. In a more racially tolerant society, Eckstine would have a career and measure of fame more comparable to Sinatra's.


     
  19. SteelyTom

    SteelyTom Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, Mass.
    You need to learn about Mark Murphy, Kurt Elling, Theo Bleckmann, Giacomo Gates, Kevin Mahogany etc. etc.
     
  20. jgreen

    jgreen Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Louis,MO.
    IMO Sinatra, Darin then everbody else.
     
  21. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    Not with that wide vibrato he had. He was a fine vocalist for sure but he rivaled Merman in that department. he was a very nice man. I had the pleasure of meeting him several times. Love "Flamingo"!
     
  22. paulmock

    paulmock Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hollywood, CA
    Try and try as I have for decades I never "got" Darin. God knows I tried. He just does not speak to me.
     
  23. Laibach

    Laibach Forum Resident

    I first became exposed to Bobby Darin in the early 2000s, I acquired a greatest hits compilation which I had on constant rotation, these were my favourite Darin songs:

    Mack The Knife
    That's The Way Love Is
    Don't Dream Of Anybody But Me
    Black Coffee
    Artificial Flowers
    I Didn't Know What Time It Was
    What A Difference A Day Made

    These songs are really fantastic and set you in quite a romantic mood, I have to say I rarely listened to any Sinatra at the time. Perhaps my introduction to Bobby Darin was the movie What Women Want and its soundtrack.
     
  24. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Your Host Your Host

    Haven't read the thread but my top five "adult" 20th Century Singer favorites are:
    (In order of appearance)

    Al Jolson
    Bing Crosby
    Frank Sinatra
    Nat Cole

    Really, no fifth..
     
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  25. He only achieved modest Pop success with the Lemonheads, but Evan Dando is the best Pop cover artist working today. I would love to see him tackle more traditional songs that are the purview of this thread.
     

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