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At the Sands with Count Basie and Frank Sinatra

The year was 1966 Frank Sinatra was at the peak of his career. There he stood on the stage in the Copa Room at the Sands Hotel and Casino in front of Count Basie and his Orchestra recording what is considered the best album of his career. The album “Sinatra at the Sands” would be his first album recorded live to be released and the album would achieve gold in sales. Sinatra was in his environment, a cozy salon style venue with an enthusiastic crowd in Las Vegas. The album was recorded by Reprise and the label engineer was Lowell Frank and produced by Sonny Burke. Reprise had formerly recorded two other albums: “Sinatra-Basie” and “It Might As Well Be Swing” with Sinatra and Count Basie, but it was their performance at the Sands Hotel that would promote both performers carriers beyond what either one of them were able to do on the own.

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Sinatra was not just a singer he was also an actor, television and radio personality, and on occasion a producer, direct, and conductor. (Pond, n.d) “Sinatra earned three Oscars, three Golden Globes, including the Cecil B. DeMille Award, ten personal Grammy’s (and a total of 20 for his albums), an Emmy, a Peabody, and the Kennedy Center Honors Award in 1983. A generous charitable contributor, he was honored with the prestigious Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.” (Pond, n.d) Sinatra was named by some as the top entertainer of the twentieth Century. As a person Sinatra was known as a philanthropist he would donate over a billion dollars to charities around the world through his life time. He would also contribute to civil rights for African Americans through his work with Count Basie and appearing in the movie “From Here to Eternity” which denounced rac…

…usen and Sammy Cahn. The song has a definite swing rhythm and the saxophone and trumpets imitate Sinatra’s phrases.

The performance at the sands is vocal jazz but the music in itself is swing andpop combined. Even though it is not improvisation the artists do take liberties sneaking in embellishments here and there. When you think of Frank Sinatra you think of the songs that are on his performance at the Sands. The Basie Rhythm machine establishes a stable swing beat allows Sinatra to sing freely around the music making a one of a kind performance. A lot of the credit for the success of the performance goes to Count Basie’s arranger and conductor Quincy Jones. Jones created a groove that blended Sinatra’s strong voice, use of phrasing and his free embellishing with Basie’s Orchestra so well it that has the band, Sinatra, and the crowd all feeding off each other.

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