Is this CD really Frank’s Best of the Best? Well …

… yes and no. It sort of depends on where you fall on the Frank Sinatra listening experience and collector scale.

If you’re  just finding your way to Frank Sinatra this is a clear winner … these recordings are truly from Frank’s prime  years and the chance to snag a CD with Frank’s “best” from both Reprise and Capitol record labels is solid goodness.

It gets a bit more complicated if you’re already steeped in Sinatra … though even if your collection is already fast and wide with Frank’s best, this release STILL may require your attention.

Let’s get into into the review and I’ll explain. [Read more…]

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On Tuesday this week (Sept 6) Concord Records released Frank Sinatra – Count Basie: The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings as a remastered compilation of two of the most interesting Sinatra records in his vast catalog — Sinatra-Basie: An Historic Musical First and It Might as Well Be Swing are artfully rendered into a single 20 track masterpiece that pays tribute to the too brief and truly historic union of Frank out in front of Count Basie and his amazing band.

Remastering these recordings was a bit worrisome to me because they were laid down so well in the original Reprise album releases. After spending several hours listening to and comparing this new release with the original albums, I need not have worried — the folks at Concord, BluWave Audio and the sundry engineers involved in this effort absolutely nailed it! [Read more…]

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© Tina Tyrell

While finalizing concert plans for this Fall I got lucky and was able to lock another date with Steve Tyrell into our crazy schedule. It’s going to make for a fun Halloween weekend in Steve’s home town of Houston where he’s playing two dates (28th and 29th of October).

I had a chance to see Steve last May here in Austin at the One World Theater as he was rolling his I’ll Take Romance Tour up to ramming speed. It was a great show filled with all his top standards renderings, but it was made even better by the attendance of his new wife Karen (also from Houston).

Steve sent out many of his most romantic songs to Karen during the show and the big guy was clearly smitten with his new bride of just a few months! Tyrell always appears to genuinely enjoy himself on stage, but he was damn near glowing this May evening as he brought the romance in spades with “That Old Feeling”, “Someone To Watch Over Me”, “Let’s Fall In Love” and several songs destined for his upcoming I’ll Take Romance album. I can’t wait for it! [Read more…]

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Copyright Decca Records

A follow-up to my recent post on Nikki Yanofsky’s live Austin performance  with a quick review of some of her recorded material.

The NIKKI album is the centerpiece of her available music at this writing (Summer 2011). It features a mix of Nikki’s signature standards work intermixed with a sprinkling of original pieces. As I mentioned in the live performance review, I think Nikki shines best through her swinging delivery of Ella Fitzgerald styled standards (“I Got Rhythm”, “Take The ‘A’ Train” and “You’ll Have To Swing It (Mr. Paganini)” being the standouts on this album. Nikki knocks it out of the park with these songs — more than just comfortable with the style, her delivery is deft and precise but also joyfully evokes the spirit of this music. Ella would be (is) proud. [Read more…]

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Copyright Decca Records

I want to hit the Fresh Faces category hard right out of the chute with a quick review of one of my new favorites – Nikki Yanofsky. Took in Nikki last fall at the One World Theatre in Austin, Tx. All I can say is wow… at least for the most part.

Nikki’s amazing talent shines when she’s plying the standards or the bluesy-jazz genres with songs like Take the “A” Train and “God Bless The Child”. When she’s belting out these songs she sounds way beyond her seventeen years – very impressive. Nikki channels Ella Fitzgerald (I’m not kidding!) with “Airmail Special”, “You’ll Have To Swing It (Mr. Paganini)” and an absolutely amazing delivery of “I Got Rhythm”. She clearly has a passion for the American songbook. [Read more…]

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