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Celebrating Sinatra

7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 14, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Celebrating Sinatra

This title is manufactured "on demand" when ordered from, using recordable media as authorized by the rights holder. Powered by CreateSpace, this on-demand program makes thousands of titles available that were previously unavailable. For reissued products, packaging may differ from original artwork.’s standard return policy will apply.

Growing up in an Italian-American household in Cleveland during the 1950s and '60s, Joe Lovano breathed in Frank Sinatra's music as unthinkingly as he breathed in the air. Young Joe's dad Tony was a weekend saxophonist who specialized in standards, and Aunt Rose knew the lyric to every Sinatra record ever made. So it was only natural that Joe grew up to be a tenor saxophonist himself and make an album called Celebrating Sinatra.

It's not what you might think, however. This is no nostalgic retread of a bygone era. This is an ambitious project by one of the most gifted jazz musicians of the '90s, an innovator who doesn't revive Sinatra's tunes so much as he reinvents them. The only vocals on the album come from Lovano's wife, Judi Silvano, who accompanies the saxophone rather than the other way around. Her ethereal soprano harmonies and elastic scat improvisations play much the same role in the arrangements that Ted Nash's clarinet and Dick Oatts's flute do. Instead, the lead voice is Lovano's sax, which produces a sound so brawny and yet warm that it achieves the same blend of bravado and sensitivity that Sinatra's vocals once did. Rather than merely follow Ol' Blue Eyes, though, Lovano carves whole new trails through chord changes offered up by the likes of Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, and Sinatra himself. The saxophonist always states the original melody in the first chorus, but he's quick to reveal how many ways the theme can be bent and twisted without losing its emotional core.

Keeping the rhythmic swing crisp and clean is the all-star rhythm section of pianist Kenny Werner, drummer Al Foster, and bassist George Mraz. Playing the Nelson Riddle role of arranger and/or conductor on eight of the 13 tunes is Manny Albam, who favors subtle art-music settings rather than slam-bang rave-ups. These emotionally suggestive settings seem to bring out the best in Lovano, who plays each phrase as if it carried a slightly different message. When he stretches out the notes on George Gershwin's "Someone to Watch Over Me" with a perfect intimation of desire and need, he recalls the lyrics so effectively that there's no need for anyone to articulate them. --Geoffrey Himes

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Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. I'll Never Smile Again 5:12$1.29  Buy MP3 
  2. Chicago 4:00$1.29  Buy MP3 
  3. I'm A Fool To Want You 4:33$1.29  Buy MP3 
  4. Imagination 6:57$1.29  Buy MP3 
  5. I've Got The World On A String 4:20$1.29  Buy MP3 
  6. All The Way 5:34$1.29  Buy MP3 
  7. South Of The Border 5:20$1.29  Buy MP3 
  8. In Other Words 3:55$1.29  Buy MP3 
  9. I've Got You Under My Skin 4:18$1.29  Buy MP3 
10. This Love Of Mine 7:22Album Only
11. Someone To Watch Over Me 5:02$1.29  Buy MP3 
12. One For My Baby (And One More For The Road) 4:01$1.29  Buy MP3 
13. The Song Is You 8:47Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 14, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Blue Note Records
  • Run Time: 70 minutes
  • ASIN: B000005H3G
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #405,081 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "ornen" on July 15, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This player, one of today's most brilliant jazz improvisers, does not make one record like the other. And still, he manages to make them all "right". If you are looking at this record because of the "Celebrating Sinatra" title, this music might surprise or provoke you. This is Lovano and his band playing, so don't expect them to play the music without making it personal. I love this, and I think most Lovano fans will. The sound is great, as one would expect, and the subtle arrangements are heart-pleasing. This is modern and classic, all at the same time. Perhaps not quite the thing for those swooner/crooner/jazz conservativists, though?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By brad smith on April 15, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Released when Sinatra tributes were a big fad, a few years before the chairman of the board expired, Lovano's heartfelt paean to one of the greatest singers is an art-music triumph. It didn't sell very well when new, probably because the Sinatra market was saturated with more accessible product and word of mouth pegged this off-beat gem as not quite what some may have expected. No one should mistake this as yet another schmaltzy reworking of Sinatra standards. Instead, it's an artistic transformation by a top rank improviser of songs that Sinatra made famous. But Lovano takes them all a step beyond. Aided by low-key string arrangements by Manny Albam, Lovano soars lightly over the usual Sinatra repertoire. He creates moods, paints abstract sound pictures and makes jazz statements like the master saxophonist he's become over the past decade since signing with Blue Note. If you see this used, pick it up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shamelady on June 6, 2015
Format: Audio CD
By now, this CD is old news, but apparently people are still buying it, so I’m reviewing it.

I’ll declare up front that I’m a non-fan of the tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano. I chose to purchase CELEBRATING SINATRA, a tribute album to Frank and some of his hits, because I figured I could reacquaint myself with Lovano’s playing in a less tumultuous, more ‘listener-friendly’ setting than he usually finds himself in. I guess I must be one of those ‘swooner/crooner/jazz conservativists’ another Amazon reviewer disparaged.

Manny Albam has orchestrated this program to incorporate reeds, a small string section, a French horn, and (soprano) voice. I’ve very much liked Albam’s work in the past, but I have mixed feelings this time around. The arrangements are interesting. Albam has adopted an almost ‘pointillist’ approach – little spots of musical color – at many junctures, and a number of his voicings are lovely, but somehow for the most part his work here announces, ‘This isn’t pop music, it’s Art Music’. In addition, he has the highly acclaimed soprano, Judy Silvano, no favorite of mine, provide wordless vocals and sing snatches of lyrics that weave in, out, and around the instruments. It’s an intrusive device and, again, too ‘artsy’ for its own good. The songs and the arrangements simply don't mesh.

But the album’s real stumbling block is the headliner. Lovano’s album notes try to assure us that it’s his admiration for the singer and his songs that provided the impetus to record this music. I’m willing to accept this as more than just a commercial project, but rarely was a tenor saxophonist less suited to performing this type of material. Lovano tries to express tenderness or intimacy by playing softly, but as a musician he’s not a tender or intimate guy.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Cohen on March 5, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Not so much a celebration of the chairman's music, more an honest but failed attempt at cashing in on a fad. The vocalizing on some of the numbers is superflous, and the orchestrations are somewhat of a hodge-podge. As always, Lovano's playing shines, but this is not the Lovano album to begin with. This is like trying to listen to Miles Davis of Doo-Bop or Tutu--the backgrounds of those albums are horrible too. Better to check out Landmarks or Trio Fascination instead if you are a novice
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