14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Certainly one of his most romantic albums...
An often neglected and severely under-rated Capitol album, Nice n' Easy stands up well in the company of Sinatra's other, more recognized masterpieces. It's not one of his moody concept albums (which are breathless in their own right), but a stunning collection of classic love ballads performed with full attention and care from the master. Nelson Riddle's arrangements...
Published on May 22, 2002 by Anthony Paul
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great record (5 Stars), poor digital mastering (2 Stars)
Don't be fooled by the "24-bit Digitally Remastered" hype Capital is promoting with these releases. Reprise's Sinatra catalog on CD has done a much better job of preserving the sound of the original record, which is closer to the master tape than these abominations. Bob Norberg (Capital mastering engineer) went to great lenghts to supress the tape hiss, which in turn...
Published on May 3, 2002 by R. Ritschel
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great record (5 Stars), poor digital mastering (2 Stars),
Don't be fooled by the "24-bit Digitally Remastered" hype Capital is promoting with these releases. Reprise's Sinatra catalog on CD has done a much better job of preserving the sound of the original record, which is closer to the master tape than these abominations. Bob Norberg (Capital mastering engineer) went to great lenghts to supress the tape hiss, which in turn sucked the life out of these recordings. The result is a flat and dimensionless sound as if a blanket had been thrown over your speakers. If you just want the music and care about the sound, then look for a used copy of the earlier pressing of this CD...
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Certainly one of his most romantic albums...,
An often neglected and severely under-rated Capitol album, Nice n' Easy stands up well in the company of Sinatra's other, more recognized masterpieces. It's not one of his moody concept albums (which are breathless in their own right), but a stunning collection of classic love ballads performed with full attention and care from the master. Nelson Riddle's arrangements shimmer with emotion and beauty, a perfect compliment to THE singer. Simply ignore any or all who say that this album is "no 'Only the Lonely', ' Wee Small Hours', etc." That is obvious...it was never intended to be like either of those albums nor any other of his concept albums. This is an album for romance...it's "concept" is of love. Rather than shelling out bucks for the countless "greates hits" compilations from Capitol or Reprise, including the new "Greatest Love Songs", go for the original albums. If its love songs you are after...they are all here folks. This particular edition is the "24 bit" version released in 2002. While I've read that some are complaining about the remastering, I found the album to sound very warm and rich. However, I have to agree that something doesn't sound quite right with the title track. His voice seems to be too far in the background at points. All in all though, this is a very minor mention, and the rest of the album is exquisite. Another stunning example of American classic music from a truly gifted artist. Don't hesitate for a moment.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Breathless 'n Deep,
An admired but often lightly regarded Sinatra offering, it in fact is one of his best. Perhaps "Nice 'n Easy" was an unfortunate (not to mention misleading) title. I had never been a great fan of Irving Berlin's "How Deep Is the Ocean" with its 4 introductory question-phrases until Sinatra's breathtaking version. He breaks the first question into 2 parts, joins the 2 parts for the 2nd question, repeats the midway break in the 3rd question, then for the 4th question not only joins the 2 parts but links the entire phrase to the first part of the bridge: "How far is the journey from here to a star and if I ever lost you--" all as a single, seamless, thrilling phrase by the only mortal capable of suspending breathing for the sake of making a point.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SINATRA AND RIDDLE: the perfect match,
"NICE N EASY" is yet another of the masterpieces from the Capitol era, recorded in early March of 1960 during the same period of time that Sinatra was working at the Sands Hotel with Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop (the filming of "Ocean's 11" was also occurring at this time).
NICE N EASY was made as part of the ( not so happy ) contractual agreement that Sinatra made with Capitol in exchange for leaving that company and starting his own ( Reprise ). However strained the relations between artist and company may have been, the results in this case were sublime. Although the title track ( and indeed the title of the album itself ) were apparently late changes ( the original title and song, "The Nearness of You", was dropped from the 1960 LP release but the song has been restored to the CD release ), the laid back swing is actually an effective prelude to the collection of standards from the golden era of songwriters. In effect, the title tune invites you to take a seat on the couch, preferably while drinking a nice glass of red wine ( with any luck, sharing this experience with another person ) . The overall mood is relaxed and romantic, unlike the "suicide" ( Sinatra's terminology ) lps "ONLY THE LONELY" and "IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS". But take note; Sinatra's version of "relaxed", in a version of a song like "You Go to My Head" or "Fools Rush In", is an overwhelming emotional experience! Many have gone on and on describing Sinatra's musical talent: his habit of emphasizing and prolonging certain words ( dynamics and rubato ) in a surprising and dramatically effective manner. His uncanny rhythmic sense ( recognized by many of the world's greatest jazz musicians ). His ability to live the lyric and seem to speak personally to each and every listener. Lastly, the sheer quality of his voice, particularly from the "Capitol Years"- that happy combination of the still strong, middle-aged vocal cords coupled with the gains in maturity and wisdom ( in life as much as music ).
But another point about Sinatra's success needs to be re-emphasized. That is the crucial role played by his musical "partners". His best arranger, Nelson Riddle, has on NICE N EASY written another group of arrangements that can be described in no other manner than as works of genius. It would be misplaced and ludicrous to point out Nelson didn't write concertos or other "extended" classical forms- the man worked in the popular music world which at that time ( 1950's and early 60's ) still had strong ties to jazz and big band traditions. These traditions produced musicians of such high quality that many could easily have pursued careers as members of classical orchestras, chamber music groups or as "concert" soloists in their own right. In fact, you will hear many of these great musicians ( whose contribution to the Sinatra legacy should never be forgotten ) gracing the albums Sinatra cut during the Capitol and early Reprise eras.
Nelson Riddle received some training from classical composers and played trombone in big bands while learning the arranging craft from the ground up. His ability to mix complex and subtle nuances of instrumental "shading" shows the strong influence ( which he freely admitted to ) of the French master composer Claude Debussy ( listen to "La Mer" or "Nocturnes" ) . The sensuous refinement and attention to detail Nelson Riddle displays in his arrangements for Sinatra's Capitol albums stand as monuments of the greatest partnership popular music has produced. A few examples from "NICE N EASY"- the simple yet achingly effective arpeggiated pattern doubled by the harp and celesta in "Fools Rush In" or his trademark deployment of bass trombone ( "How Deep is the Ocean?" ). Charles Granata's book, "SESSIONS WITH SINATRA", is fantastic in describing Sinatra's achievements. Sinatra and Riddle were the perfect match: their artistry will no doubt continue to inspire people for a long, long time to come.
Needless to say, I highly recommend all of the Sinatra-Riddle Capitol albums, but their greatest work for me would have to be the ballad albums; "IN THE WEE SMALL HOURS", "ONLY THE LONELY", "NICE N EASY" and a lesser-known masterpiece from 1956, "CLOSE TO YOU", which has finally been released as a single CD in re-mastered form.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars But it WAS a concept album!,
By A Customer
This album did have a concept and that was Sinatra revisiting songs he had recorded or performed frequently before in new settings (it could have been titled "That Old Feeling"). The single "Nice and Easy" was added at the last minute, replacing "The Nearness of You." This album came after a year with no Sinatra on LP and was a runaway smash hit. Everyone in my dorm at the University of Missouri had it and wore out their copies. It's a sensational piece of work start to finish and strangely overlooked in cataloging Sinatra's greatest achievements. He was in superb voice and spirits and was intent on giving Capitol the best he had to give even as he was waving bye-bye. This tells a lot about the measure of the man who, whatever you've read, was really a highly moral individual with the highest standards.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous end of a fabulous era at Capitol,
I own the pre-remastered CD, so I won't comment on the quality of the recently released CD. The music, however, is superb. And fans of Sinatra's entire discopgraphy will find a LOT to like here.
Sinatra shed much of his romantic image when he left Columbia and signed with Capitol in '53. Sure, he recorded plenty of torch songs and melancholy ballads, but for much of the 1940s Frank was all about smoochy love songs, and he did them better than anyone. In the 1950s, FS reinvented himself has the swinger who knew what loneliness was all about. Nearly all of his Capitol albums are considered among the best popular recordings of the last century (and certainly of this one...), but the simple 'love songs' of the Forties disappeared in lieu of jet-setting swinger tunes ('Come Fly With Me'), sophisticated passion ('I've Got You Under My Skin'), raw emotion ('Night and Day') or emotional isolation ('Angel Eyes'). Nice 'n' Easy is fascinating because it brings Nelson Riddle's considerable talents to the laid-back romantic songs arranged by Axel Stordahl for Sinatra during his initial rise to stardom at Columbia.
The title track is 'new' for 1960, and it works well enough. The balance of the album consists of older material, but rather than recycling old tunes Riddle and Sinatra lighten things up a bit. Yes, some of the lyrics have a 1940s naivete about them ...but the deeper Sinatra voice of 1960 makes them less quaint and more compelling. 'How Deep is the Ocean' just aches -- the ocean is damn deep, and this guy is in love like he's never been before. 'Dream' finds the singer using his voice like an instrument. The whole album holds together magnificently.
Aren't the lyrics archaic? With the exception of title track, these songs were written well before 1960, and yes, some of the lyrics sound quaint (or worse) today. But Sinatra and Riddle really work their old black magic and let you lose yourself in the songs. While Gordon Jenkins takes heat for being too heavy on the strings, Riddle keeps things light -- nice and easy, you could say.
Is this the best of Sinatra's concept albums at Capitol? Not by a long shot. BUT -- these albums are all classics of a kind. Taken on its own merits, Nice 'n' Easy is perhaps the last of this classic run. Even later Sinatra-Riddle efforts (Days of Wine and Roses, Strangers in the Night) don't measure up.
If you enjoy quiet, relaxing renditions of standards, Nice 'n' Easy should keep you listening.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE COLUMBIA CATALOG REVISITED,
As the man says,you can buy the whole CAPITOL collection eyes closed,that's a fact that will always remain true among the old blue eyes fans.On this cd,FRANK and NELSON RIDDLE have decided to refresh the old COLUMBIA catalog with generally good results.Among the highlights here are the reprise of FOOLS RUSH IN and the slower version of DAY IN,DAY OUT;IRVING BERLIN'S HOW DEEP IS THE OCEAN was never better.As for the rest,it is interesting to be sure,but not vintage SINATRA.We know that FRANK always liked SHE'S FUNNY THAT WAY for personnals reasons,as for the other songs like SOMEONE TO WATCH OVER ME,EMBRACEABLE YOU(I GO WITH SARAH VAUGHAN);MY ONE AND ONLY LOVE(JUNE CHRISTY);TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS(FOREVER ASSOCIATED WITH OTIS REDDING);THE NEARNESS OF YOU(DICK HAYMES).To conclude,let me just say that the more versions of a song that exists the listener doubles the pleasure ,even if he has to choose his favorite.Having said that,i pay my respect to FRANK SINATRA,AMERICA'S greatest singer of his time
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Sinatra's Masterful Yet Nice 'N' Easy Performances,
This was the very first Frank Sinatra album I heard way back in the early '60s, and since then I became a fan. I remember my parents used to listen to this album after dinner and danced to the tunes of "Embraceable You" and "Mam'selle." My sisters and I used to hang around and sing along and be captive audience to my parents dancing and listening to Frank Sinatra singing these romantic songs.
I bought the CD a few years ago and enjoyed listening to it again. It was like a sentimental journey to the past. The CD has four added tracks such as "The Nearness of You," "Someone To Watch Over Me," "Day In Day Out," and my all-time favorite and the loveliest song I've ever heard..."My One And Only Love."
Most of the selections here were recorded during the first years of his recording career such as "That Old Feeling," Irving Berlin's "How Deep Is The Ocean," Gershwin's very famous "I've Got A Crush On You," "You Go To My Head," "Fools Rush In," "Dream," "Nevertheless," "She's Funny That Way" and "Try A Little Tenderness."
What makes this CD a classic? The soothing voice of Frank Sinatra, the romantic songs and the superb orchestration of Nelson Riddle. I wholeheartedly recommend it not only to fans of the legendary Francis Albert Sinatra, but also to lovers of fine music. A must-have.
* * * * * TEN STARS * * * *
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sinatra At His Smooth, Sophisticated Best.,
Though on the surface not in the same mold as his revolutionary concept albums of the 1950s', Frank Sinatra's 1960 release "Nice 'N' Easy" is one of Ol' Blue Eyes's strongest and most consistent albums of his career.
Made up of reduxes of his Columbia recordings (save one recording), Frank as well as frequent collaborator Nelson Riddle are at the top of their game here.
The album begins with its title track, the only original recording on here and one of Frank's most enduring recordings thanks to its light as the breeze Riddle arrangement, playful lyrics and Frank's smooth as silk vocal performance.
The rest of the album isn't quite as easy going or as fun as the opening song, but nonetheless remains solid throughout. Frank's plumbs the depths of romantic obsession on "How Deep Is The Ocean" to great effect. "You Go To My Head" is hypnotic and bubbly, while "Try A Little Tenderness" is lovely and evocative.
The two highlights for me is the utterly fantastic, definitive renditions of the Gershwin classics "I've Got A Crush On You" and "Embraceable You". These two songs are among the most recorded numbers in The Great American Songbook, but neither have ever been done better than on here. "I've Got A Crush On You" is sung in a tender, coo, while "Embraceable You" is moody and seductive, with Frank's lower register adding to the already risque nature of the song.
The rest of the album is equally entertaining, especially the beautiful closing track, the Johnny Mercer classic "Dream", which features one of Nelson Riddle's most ingenius arrangements.
A total of four bonus tracks have been added to the original 12 tracks, all of which make welcome additions to this already excellent album. The highlight would be Frank's definitve rendering of another Gershwin classic, "Someone To Watch Over Me". With its pensive trumpet, distant strings and Frank's longing, tender vocal performance, this standard has never been given a better treatment.
"Nice 'N' Easy" is a tremendously successful recording from The Master. I highly recommend it, and I agree with other reviewers that it makes for an excellent background recording to a romantic evening.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, how Frank could sell a song--masterfully, with poise and insight, yet nice 'n' easy !!!,
Frank Sinatra fulfilled his contract with Capitol Records by recording the songs for this wonderful album entitled Nice 'n' Easy. This track set features the more mature and highly seasoned Frank Sinatra who sings with a degree of sophistication that squarely ranks him as one of the greatest male singers of all time. Oh sure, many of the songs on this CD were recorded earlier in his career; but when Frank Sinatra revisits these ballads he uses his artistic maturity, increased focus and panache to convey greater sensitivity than ever before. This CD proves all of this; and the four bonus tracks we get are a blessing!
The first track is the title song entitled "Nice 'n' Easy;" Franks voice simply never sounded better and the arrangement by Nelson Riddle glistens like millions of golden nuggets! Frank delivers "Nice 'n' Easy" without singing a superfluous note; and you'll be hooked on this album from this first song right on in! Frank sings so well of the pleasure one can experience by taking their time to enter romance. The second track gives us an interesting surprise with "That Old Feeling;" Frank now sings about an obsessive, undying and deep true love; and the lyrics display no hesitation whatsoever about jumping into a very meaningful romance. Wow!
"Nevertheless" charms you with its unforgettable lyrics; and Frank delivers this brilliantly as he uses his voice as a finely tuned instrument to convey the emotions he feels about his woman. The musical arrangement by Nelson Riddle makes excellent use of the horns, too.
Other gems on this CD include the classic pop vocal by the Gershwin brothers entitled "I've Got A Crush;" a romantic and slow paced rendition of "You Go To My Head" and Johnny Mercer's "Dream." If ever Johnny Mercer wrote a romantic standard, "Dream" would have to be a strong contender for first prize. Frank performs "Dream" slowly with great sensitivity; and you know by this time that you're experiencing Frank at his finest.
We also get four bonus tracks. "The Nearness Of You" was originally intended for the record album release of this track set; but it was removed in favor of "Nice 'n' Easy." Frank's excellent diction as he sings "The Nearness Of You" helps to enhance the beauty of this number. The final three tracks were recorded in the 1950s; and you can instantly hear how Frank's voice was not quite yet the warm baritone it was to become for this CD. On the other hand, "Someone To Watch Over Me" does feature Frank crooning energetically and the orchestra plays this beautifully. Frank sings "My One And Only Love" very well and the orchestra once again complements his vocals to perfection.
The liner notes include an informative essay by Pete Welding; and the art work is done in very good taste. You get the song credits as well. The quality of the sound is excellent; Bob Norberg at Capitol Records did a great job remastering these tracks.
Overall, this CD is a "must-have" for Sinatra fans; and it makes a fine starting point for anyone who wishes to get to know the genius of Frank Sinatra. People who enjoy classic pop vocals will also enjoy this CD for years to come.
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