L.A. Is My Lady

Frank Sinatra

Reprise Records, 1984

http://www.sinatra.com

REVIEW BY: Tommy Johnson

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/25/2002

"A&R Recording Studio is on the seventh floor of a New York office building. You can take an elevator up, smelling pizza in the elevator car. Definitely a New York session here. Sinatra recording here tonight. One of the elevators doesn't work. Everything else does."

That's how the liner notes of L.A. Is My Lady introduces us to this disc. With an introduction like that, you got your hopes set up pretty high. There's no need to give you any background to this singer's singer, you already know the story. "He's performed more songs than your average home phonograph," as someone once said.

On the front cover you'll find a nice picture of Frank, as well as a photo of the "Lady" - Los Angeles. But under the picture of Sinatra you'll find some quite interesting words: "With Quincy Jones and Orchestra".

That's right. This CD is conducted and produced by The Dude himself, Quincy Jones. As usual when it comes to the work of Jones's, you'll find a set of incredible back-up musicians. The calibre of these guys are so great that I have to list some of them: Michael Brecker, Jerry Hey, Steve Gadd, Lionel Hampton, Jon Faddis, George Benson, Michael Jackson and bunch of others. - L.A's and N.Y's finest.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

With one of the greatest singers, one of the greatest producers and some of the greatest musicians, this album can't be anything but an amazing piece of work, right?

Yeah. You're on to something. First of all; remember that this is 1984. The man is 70 years old. You can't expect a performance like the history he made 30 years earlier. However, "historical material" is exactly what you get. From the very first note, you'll know that you're in for a treat. The CD's title track, "L.A. Is My Lady", welcomes you to the almost 40 minute long disc. It has a great slick L.A groove to it. The drums brings this song into another dimension. Groovy. Really groovy.

The sound of the entire disc is actually quite similar to all the other music Jones' produced at this time, but much more mature and sophisticated. Keep in mind that Jones has a long background of conducting Big Bands, so he knows what he's doing when he mixes the classical Sinatra sound with the early 80's studio sound.

One of the highlights is the last track of this CD, the classic "After You've Gone". It features some really tasteful guitar work by George Benson (who was heading off to receive his "Best Dressed" award after this session). The vibes solo on this song really shows why Lionel Hampton is considered to be number one when it comes down to the vibraphone. This particular track is arranged by Frank Foster, and is really a fitting "grand finale" for this lovely disc.

The liner notes aren't too generous with words, but I must say that the three and a half written pages about this session is some of the most interesting stuff I've ever read in a booklet. Very well written, and certainly well chosen stuff. You really get this "behind the scenes" feel, which is rare. Steve Cornyn is the man to thank for that reading enjoyment. (Cornyn has also done the liner notes of other Sinatra recordings.)

Sinatra has brought us so many magical moments, and I'm glad to say that this is one of them. A very clean and strong disc, with some great performed material by one of the greatest…maybe the best there's ever been.

Rating: A-

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© 2002 Tommy Johnson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Reprise Records, and is used for informational purposes only.