Sinatra in his prime and his guests really shine!
Barbara J. Major | Upper Darby, PA United States | 01/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have to admit I'm not an overly enthusiastic Sinatra fan myself, but he is certainly at his prime in this 1967 TV special. Nelson Riddle and His Orchestra are top notch as is Miss Ella in her solos and duets with Frank. The opening track "Day In, Day Out" featuring a lot of percussion instruments surrounding Frank is particularly memorable and full of drive.The real reason I bought this DVD, however, was for the segment with Antonio Carlos Jobim. Frank and Antonio do a short medley of Jobim and Cole Porter-written songs (this segment of the show could and should have been MUCH longer) - but which medley unfortunately is credited to the arranging talents of Nelson Riddle - when in fact, the entire arrangement of all 4 Jobim and Porter songs played should have been attributed to Claus Ogerman. The arrangement of these four tunes can be heard note for note in the "Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim" 1967 LP (and now CD) on the Reprise label. Claus Ogerman arranged and conducted this entire album. Shortened versions of these four songs were only "lifted" from the album for this tv show. Antonio plays guitar chord changes in between the songs which make the 4 tunes flow effortlessly from one to the other. Nelson Riddle does a fine job arranging the music for the rest of the tv special, but I believe in giving credit where credit is due - and by no means did he arrange the Sinatra/Jobim part of the special.Two of the very best albums Sinatra ever recorded were those with Jobim and I am glad that at least some of the material from one of these albums gets to shine on this tv special. Of course, there are no words to describe Ella Fitzgerald's talent; every superlative about her singing has already been used many times over. She's great to both watch and listen to on this special and you can tell that Frank enjoys listening to her - when he's not singing with her himself - as well.Anyone who loves bossa nova or wonderful renditions of standard swing and jazz tunes should definitely not miss buying this DVD. The only dissapointment for me is that it was not remastered in Dolby Digital, and offered in only PCM sound. Although the video part of the DVD is very good considering its age, it also could have done with a remastering to make it look even more pristine for the digital age.--bj
I'm broke- that's "oke."
Chris Aldridge | Washington, DC USA | 12/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Well, I'm old enough to be able to say I miss musical variety television. Obviously we have larger venues of musical entertainment now thanks to cable, but in many ways the musical sources are startlingly different from thirty-six years ago. In 1967, a singer and an acoustic guitarist could sit down and knock out "Change Partners" and "Girl From Ipanema" (in two different languages, yet!!) and entertain a very gratified audience. This special, recently spotted on PBS, is one not to be missed: it features the Frank Sinatra of his Rat Pack/Mia Farrow days, perenially garbed in evening dress with martini and cigarette in hand, doing what he does best: singing with ease and grace. The ballads- from "Ol' Man River," "Put Your Dreams Away," and especially Cole Porter's "I Concentrate On You" are lovely. And if that wasn't enough, the special flows seamlessly from the charm of Antonio Carlos Jobim's guitar to the drop-dead elegance of Ella Fitzgerald, who appears with the host twice: first in a medley of 'modern-day' 60's songs (this is a time capsule onto itself) like "Goin' Out of My Head," "Ode to Billie Joe," and others; then reappears with Sinatra at the end of the hour to burn up some old standards: "They Can't Take That Away From Me," "At Long Last Love," "Stompin' At The Savoy," and the undisputed finale, the stunning call-and-response arrangement of "The Lady Is A Tramp." This song is nothing short of marvelous, for the simple reason that it shows the singers having a ball. Sinatra was very much in the cynical, pseudo-arrogant songster persona at this time, but when he takes the stage with Ella the mask of steel is completely melted away and he is visibly relaxed and jovial, even stopping to show admiration of her scatting improvisation. They clearly enjoy each other, and it shows. A glorious moment of live television that was never really matched again, but is captured on a very clear and sharp DVD."