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)"
"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.