February 6, 2006

Sinatra + Jobim = transcendent

Frank Sinatra, crooner, former teen idol, who started in the era of megaphones for vocal amplification and wax cylinder recordings, faught hard to remain relevant in the midst of the cultural shifts of the late 1960s. He had been down and out, and was determined to never be again. Antonio Carlos Jobim, a Brazilian songwriter, arranger, singer, pianist, was one of the fathers of bossa nova, and the composer of the style's most popular songs. Sinatra apparently loved the compositions of Jobim. He planned to record an album of them, and eventually invited Jobim to record with him in 1967. The result was some of the best music Sinatra made during his Reprise years. The often quoted remark from Sinatra at the time, "I haven't sung so soft since I had the laryngitis" (a reference to his vocal hemorrhage of the late forties), is indicitative of the relaxed, gentle quality running throughout the work.

Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim was released in 1967, and to coincide, Sinatra did another TV special, Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music + Ella + Jobim. He does a set with Jobim that's pretty amazing. Remember, it's live TV, no lip synching. Sinatra would never be anywhere near as cool ever again. Legendary, perhaps, but never as hip. They perform a few of the songs from Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim:

"Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars (Corcovado)"
"Change Partners"
"I Concentrate on You"
"The Girl From Ipanema (Garota de Ipanema)"

It is sort of jarring, isn't it, to see someone light up a cigarette so flippantly. You don't see that on TV anymore now that smoking has become kind of taboo.

Jobim and Sinatra worked together one more time, the results comprising the very best side of a fairly awful 1971 album, Sinatra & Company. They recorded my favorite Sinatra song during the sessions. "Wave" is said to have been the only song of his Sinatra listened to during his short "retirement" at the beginning of the 1970s. He loved how well he nailed that really low note on the word "together." It is the lowest recorded note Sinatra hit. You try it. Bet you can't do it.



f said...

Love this stuff. Thanks for that clip. Love that song. I am gonna try to hit that note now.

Chris said...

To-ge-therrrrrrrr. See, it's easy!

Guilherme said...

well, i dont know if anybody will see this comment, but i have to post.
im brazilian, and i love bossa nova.. i think that the only guy that can "translate" the bossa nova to another language, is sinatra.. sure, i prefer in portuguese =) but sinatra is did a exellent work
well, if you guys wanna hear some good music, you can check Tom Jobin, Vinicius de Morais, Chico Buarque, Aldir Blank, João Bosco, João Gilberto.. heheheh..
sorry for my bad english, and just 1 little correction, its not "Garrota de Ipanema", its "Garota de Ipanema"

Chris said...


Sorry about the misspelling! Sinatra definitely did Jobim's songs better than say, Astrud Gilberto.

I too love Jobim and João Gilberto.

You're probably right, no one but me will ever see your (or my) comment.

Guilherne said...

take a look at this
this is a Chico Buarque song "o que será" chico is the guy with mustache.

hes my favorite composer (is it right, "composer"? hehe) ever!!
this song isnt the best, but is very very beautiful.
worse a watch! =)

Chris said...

That's not too bad. Milton Nascimento is a bit annoying though. I can see why people might like the music.

"Composer", or songwriter (writer of songs), is correct!

Eric said...

Been looking for this clip for awhile, ever since I saw it on some Sinatra bio on PBS or something. Thanks for posting it!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the great stuff! I love Jobim and Sinatra. There so great togethaaaaaaaaaaaaah! If you have a sub-woofer, crank it up while Wave is playing and the whole room will move South about 3 meters! Awesome!!!

R Dub! said...

WOW. I got goosebumps watching the Sinatra-Jobim video you posted. THANK YOU!

The very first time I heard them together, was just about a year ago--on a flight in Brasil, from Sao Paulo to Recife. They had that Sinatra-Jobim CD on the in-flight headphones, and listening to them toghether for the first time gave me chills. I loved Sinatra...I loved Bossa Nova...didn't know the two ever met until then.

Headphones on my ears, flying into the sunset, a beautiful garota next to me, sipping agua de coco and enjoying the view out of the janella, almost as much as the view of the quenche TAM flight attendant. It was a special memory, and hearing Frank and Jobim together will always take me back to that magical day.

Mutio bem!

Max Hartshorne said...

Ever since I was a kid in the '60s, Jobim and Sinatra's collaboration has been a part of my musical memories. Watching that clip was just wonderful, thank you for finding it and thank you for your great blog. You find some 'great shit' and I always enjoy what you find. thanks man!

Anonymous said...

I bought this album in '69 - fell in love with bossa nova - and even learnt' Agua de beber in Portuguese. What a century !! : Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim, The Hangmans Beautiful Daughter, Pet Sounds and St. Peppers.. Thanks for the clip

M said...

I didn't know they had ever worked together. That was great!

Leigh said...

Oh. My. God. I'm not even going to watch this right now. I'm saving it for this evening. I'm going to mix a Sapphire martini, pour out appropriate libations for Boy Twin, Girl Twin, and Mr. Science, and sit down with the family to watch it on the big screen.

My family knows Jobim's music because I love it so much. My kids can sing "Waters of March"; it's our family song. Our favorite is Basia's version, which is kind of fast and made even more challenging by her slight Polish accent; but by God, we know all the words. I also really like Al Jarreau version with Oleta Adams.

Do you have the tribute album "A Twist of Jobim"?

Chris said...

So your kids can sing "Águas de Março," ey? That's very impressive. And with a Polish accent! I used to be able to sing "Só Danço Samba" in Portuguese. There aren't many lyrics, though, so not so impressive. I don't have A Twist of Jobim. I tend to shy away from tribute albums - I'd rather hear the original artist do the songs. Looks like they have a few really obscure ones ("Mojave," "Stone Flower") on the album.

And that 'tini ought to really enhance your enjoyment of the Sinatra and Jobim medley. It's sublime, with our without.

Leigh said...

Damn, that was so good. Nobody else was EVER that cool. And yes, the martini mixed by the lovely Mr. Science definitely enhanced the experience.

You've provided several more additions to the wedding playlist . . . assuming I can get my server up so that I can retrieve the music. (Of course I will; I'm just pissed because I HATE messing with hardware.)

Do you by any chance know any of the Drewerys or Hopsons in Nac? You would SO enjoy this wedding, held outdoors on my family's ranch east of town at sunset.

The kids came to the music by themselves, though I like to think I made it possible by making the tunes available. The niece who's marrying on the 18th came to it on her own, though . . . I've never inflicted my playlists on her.

Guilherme, if you visit the blog again, I enjoyed your comments and will certainly check out the artists you mentioned.

Chris said...


I do believe your niece's wedding will have the best playlist EVER. And not even a whiff of Michael Bolton or Celine Dion. I hope she appreciates what you are doing.

I work with a Connie Hopson, but I don't think her husband comes from Nacogdoches. I know of the Drewery's through the business they have here. That does sound like it'll be a beautiful evening! The weather should be pleasant by the 18th, but in East Texas, you just never know.

hope's hopes said...

Great BlogLiked the pictures.


Tony t said...

Thank you, I have been in love with this bewitching sound since I was a child listening to my Dad's albums. I have finally heard this collaboration between sinatra and jobim, and I am entranced by this beauty. AHHHH my heart soars

Anonymous said...

I saw your comment and agree, thanks for the clip