Sinatra & Jobim – Complete Reprise Recordings

24 Apr


I am a massive fan of both Old Blue Eyes and ACJ, so any combination of the two legendary performers really sends me. I have long owned an LP copy of their first 10-song collaboration and it remains a frequent visitor to my aging turntable. Their 2nd 10-song effort was killed by Sinatra shortly after its planned release by Warner-Reprise. Frankie apparently was just not comfortable with 3 of the tracks and, being Frank, he squashed the project in true Sinatra-style. “Kill it, baby.” I can just hear him saying that to a non-plussed Warner executive. The two artists were white hot in the 1960s and I’m sure the Warner-Reprise brash had big $$$ in their eyes.

But, as we now know, Sinatra was a perfectionist and a pretty persuasive cat to boot. So, the “lost recordings” lingered in darkness for many years to follow. Some tracks have been added to various collections thru the years, but not until now have all 20 tunes been gathered in one, professionally packaged release. It’s quite a compelling contrast of two very different men who somehow found common ground in the bossa nova sounds of Brazil. Frank was loud, opinionated, and full of Hoboken bravado.  Jobim was sensitive, thoughtful, and shy. Jobim: “I am often afraid. You do not know fear.” Sinatra: “I guess you’re right. I don’t know much fear.” Bada bing – zoom! 
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — In 1967, Frank Sinatra teamed up with Brazilian singer, pianist, guitarist, composer and songwriter Antonio Carlos Jobim to record an album that married the Chairman’s signature vocals with rhythms from the master of bossa nova. The resulting album, Francis Albert Sinatra/Antonio Carlos Jobim, reached #19, remaining on Billboard’s rock-dominated album chart for 28 weeks.

Forty-four years later, on May 4, 2010, Concord Music Group, on license from Frank Sinatra Enterprises (FSE), will release a deluxe reissue of the Sinatra/Jobim classic including all ten songs from the original album plus seven songs from a subsequent collaboration between the two, and three songs from that session that were not released until decades later, when they were included in a box set. Sinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings features digital remastering and expanded liner notes by Stan Cornyn, longtime head of creative services at Warner/Reprise and author of the book about the Warner Music Group, Exploding.

Sinatra and Jobim gathered at Hollywood’s Western Recorders for three nights, January 30 through February 1, 1967. Jobim brought the beat in the form of bossa nova percussionists and arrangers. Sinatra supplied the producer (Sonny Burke), the string arranger/conductor (Claus Ogerman) and the rest of the orchestra. The resulting session produced ten songs including the classic “The Girl From Impanema” plus “Dindi,” “How Insensitive [Insensatez],” “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars” and six others. (After bidding até a vista to Jobim, Sinatra, on the high of making one of his finest albums ever, stayed at the studio to record a duet with daughter Nancy that would reach #1 on the charts, “Something Stupid.”)

Two years later, Sinatra and Jobim returned to Western Recorders to record ten more bossa novas for a shorter-titled follow-up: Sinatra-Jobim. Replacing Ogerman was a 26-year-old long-haired arranger named Eumir Deodato (later to be known for his 1973 jazz version of Richard Strauss’ “Also Sprach Zarathustra [2001]”). The songs were all written or co-written by Jobim, many with unusual melodic twists. Producer Burke enlisted conductor Morris Stoloff to ensure a pop feel to the session.

After three nights, the album was wrapped, and was readied for release in the fall of 1969. The eight-track version of the album had shipped when the call was placed to Warner/Reprise’s Burbank, Calif. offices. It was Sinatra, demanding that the label “kill the album,” so Warner recalled most of the recordings. A 2005 Goldmine story reported that the rare eight-track would command $5000.

Sinatra later agreed to permit Reprise to release seven of the Sinatra-Jobim vocal tracks on the album Sinatra & Company. It reached #73 and remained on the album chart for 15 weeks in 1971.

The cover of classic first Sinatra-Jobim duo release

More than 40 years later, the airport in Rio has been named Antonio Carlos Jobim International. And an American postage stamp honored Frank Sinatra. And the Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim and Sinatra-Jobim albums have been combined to form Concord’s Sinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings set.

8-Track Packaging of rare “killed” 1969 recording

An amazing video peek at the Sinatra-Jobim collaboration

Frankie and “Tom” Jobim listening to playback

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