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The Sinatra Project, Vol. II: The Good Life


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Audio CD, October 24, 2011
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Michael Feinstein, the multi-platinum-selling, five-time Grammy-nominated entertainer dubbed “The Ambassador of the Great American Songbook,” is considered one of the premier interpreters of American standards. His 200-plus shows a year have included performances at Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and the Hollywood Bowl as well as the White House and Buckingham Palace.

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 24, 2011)
  • Original Release Date: 2011
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Concord Jazz
  • ASIN: B005IHVPMW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,518 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Thirteen Women
2. Hallelujah I Love Her So
3. C'est Comme Ça
4. Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby?
5. Sway
6. Luck Be A Lady / All I Need Is The Girl
7. I'll Be Around
8. The Way You Look Tonight
9. The Lady Is A Tramp
10. For Once In My Life
11. The Good Life
12. Once In A Lifetime

Editorial Reviews

When the foremost custodian of the Great American Songbook pays tribute to the music's greatest practitioner, the results are guaranteed to be both dynamic and original. Such was indeed the case in 2008 when Michael Feinstein crafted The Sinatra Project, which marked his ninth Concord release and was nominated for a Grammy. Feinstein, long recognized as not only one of the world's finest vocal and piano stylists but also for his tireless efforts to preserve, protect and promote the songs and songwriters that shaped the golden age of American music, wanted to pay tribute to the rich Sinatra legacy, but was determined to do so in a way that was fresh and unique. With The Sinatra Project, Feinstein explains, he "decided to focus on the aspects of Sinatra's art that people don't always think about; specifically, his particular taste and style in choosing music and how he pervaded it, paying close attention to the arrangements and orchestrations, which were important elements in making Sinatra great." Feinstein took songs Sinatra had sung--some instantly familiar others relatively obscure--and reinterpreted them in "different ways that still reflected his style and approach. It was a way into the material that allowed me honor him without copying; to bring the essence of him through without being an imitator."

Now, with The Sinatra Project, Volume II: The Good Life, Feinstein has found another inventive way in. "The second volume is really about Sinatra and his friends," says Feinstein. "It's about the people he influenced and who influenced him. The focus is more on the 1960s. The album includes a few songs Sinatra never sang, which was intentional because I wanted to encapsulate that era and show that, though he was still very important, music and styles were changing. It was the ushering in of a new sensibility, and yet the 1960s was still a time when rich, standards-type songs like `For Once In My Life' were still being created alongside newer pop elements like rock and roll."

Close to a dozen superstars, many of whom Sinatra counted as close friends and also deeply admired as artists, influenced Feinstein's song selections and his stylistic choices, including Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peggy Lee, Rosemary Clooney, Ray Charles, Tony Bennett, Ann-Margret, Duke Ellington, Fred Astaire, Nancy Wilson and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Again Feinstein combines familiar and comparatively obscure material, creating a 12-track playlist that extends from such signature Sinatra tunes as "Luck Be a Lady" and "The Lady Is a Tramp" to the extremely rare "C'est Comme Ça," co-written by Ellington and Marshall Barer for the 1966 Broadway flop Pousse Café (a musical adaptation of the 1930 Joseph von Sternberg film The Blue Angel, starring Marlene Dietrich).

In addition to producing the album, working with Feinstein on all the arrangements and orchestrations and conducting the 30-member orchestra, Elliott plays piano on eight of the dozen tracks. The album's core group also includes guitarist Jim Fox, bassist Kirk Smith, drummer Albie Berk and percussionist Bernie Dresel. Asked if it is difficult to work with another pianist when he is so accustomed to accompanying himself, Feinstein responds, "Not at all... It is fun to work with someone else because it spurs me to sing the songs a little differently." Feinstein does, however, accompany himself on four tracks, two--"The Good Life" and "Sway"--with the full orchestra and two--"C'est Comme Ça" and "I'll Be Around"--with just Smith and violinist Sid Page. As for the album's subtitle, Feinstein says he chose "The Good Life" because "it reflects the '60s, when Sinatra had gotten to a point in his life where he became iconic in a way that was different from the '50s. He really came into his own. And it was also a good time. "The Good Life" is a song from the mid-'60s and people were in many ways, if perhaps illusionary, living a good life."

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Joan Morrow on October 28, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am a huge admirer of both Frank Sinatra and Michael Feintein, so was excited to acquire this new album. It is a wonderful collection of Sinatra songs, done in the unique Michael Feinstein style. The only reason I did not give it 5 stars is because I feel Mr. Feinstein's wonderful voice and delivery are heard best on the ballads. Many of the songs on this album are upbeat - wonderful in their own way, and vintage Sinatra. I would have preferred more old time ballads, as in several other M. Feinstein recordings I have. A marvelous album, all things considered!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Maggiegreeneyes62 on December 7, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have every one of Michael's Feinstein's CDs and this is one of his best. His first Sinatra Project was tops with me and so is this one. His impeccable voice was meant to sing anything Sinatra sang. What more can I say but I cannot wait for the next CD.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William A. Brimmer Jr. on December 25, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Let me start out by saying I am a big fan of Michael Feinstein who (like Mr. Sinatra) would never allow a bad cd to come out with his name on it. What I can say about Mr. Feinstein's newest cd is that it is totally creative in terms of arrangements (thank you Bill Elliott). I have heard just about every one of these songs done wonderfully by the original artist. But it was as if I had never heard them before as done by Mr. Feinstein. That my friends is a true delight and a totally satisfying experience.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca*rhapsodyinblue* VINE VOICE on January 31, 2012
Format: Audio CD
"The second volume is really about Sinatra and his friends. The focus is more on the 1960s. The album includes a few songs Sinatra never sang, which was intentional because I wanted to encapsulate that era and show that, though he was still very important, music and styles were changing." ~ Michael Feinstein ~

If you are wondering why Michael Feinstein included a few non-Sinatra songs in an album that's meant to showcase songs that are identified with the famous Chairman of The Board, you are not alone. I myself wondered why until I read the Press Release from Concord Records website, which is also on Amazon's Editorial page. The above quote addresses this issue.

Three years after the successful release of Grammy-nominated The Sinatra Project, Michael Feinstein is reunited with Bill Elliott and came up with a follow-up album called "The Sinatra Project, Vol. II: The Good Life" in 2011. It is another terrific collaboration between Feinstein, Ambassador of The Great American Songbook and four-time Grammy nominee, and Elliott, producer/arranger/pianist/orchestrator who writes chart arrangements in the tradition of Nelson Riddle, Claus Ogerman and Billy May. Mr. Elliott is also the arranger/conductor at one time or another for the L.A. Philharmonic, New York Pops and Boston Pops Orchestra.

The repertoire includes dazzling, upbeat swing numbers that he delivers in their truest forms--the way they should be interpreted. These impressive tracks are "Once In A Lifetime," "Sway" and "Luck Be A Lady"/"All I Need Is A Girl." But what captivated my ears the most is the delicate charm of "The Way You Look Tonight.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By spacefan on February 12, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm a huge Michael Feinstein fan, with a sizeable collection of his albums, including The Sinatra Project Vol. I, which I thought was awesome.

As expected, I had high expectations for Vol. II, but sadly, it doesn't quite match, never mind outdo, its predecessor.

Might be a combination of factors, including song choices and vocal delivery. While this CD features many more pieces I'm familiar with compared to the Vol. I list, I just felt that something was lacking. And a few of the slower songs suffered from forced huskiness in Michael's tone. Could be the wrong register for him, or he may be developing a new performance habit. Either way, please stop!

That said, I give this 3.5 stars, and really enjoy the big band tracks which are beautifully arranged ( and on which Michael sings normally ). The ballads, however, don't appeal to me as much - definitely prefer his earlier work from Isn't It Romantic and The MGM Album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stanley Cooper on January 10, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Michael Feinstein is A Very Relaxed Singer
and He Sure Knows His Way Around Any Song
He just A Pretty Good Music Man/I Listened To The CD
Quite A Few Times And I Have Noticed That He Is More
comfortable When He Is Playing Piano and Singing/but
when he Sings With The Full Orchestra he seems to be
working much harder/Perhaps He Should be singing and
playing The Piano with The Orchestra and Then He
Might Be In Control as He Should be/If You Listen to
Diane Schuur Sing Her Version Of the Very Thought Of You/
She's Playing The Piano With A Full Concert Orchestration
and in Complete Control///They Call This Album The SINATRA
PROJECT Vol-11 The Good Life//But 5 of the songs
Frank Never Recorded/1-Thirteen Woman-2-Sway-
3-C'est Comme Ca-4-Once In A Lifetime and the fifth song/
5-Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby The Louis Jordan Hit
Sinatra only sang it on the Hit Parade in The 40's//
With So many Great Songs that Frank has Sung They Could
have done a Better Job Of Picking Sinatra Songs/P.S
His Rendition Of THE GOOD LIFE is Super and his reading
of the Lyric comes From The Heart/I'm Waiting For Someone
to record an album of 16 songs That I Wished Sinatra Would
have Recorded Songs Like Penthouse Serenade and other
Great Standards//
Stanley Cooper Jupiter Florida
zoundz@bellsouth.net
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