Keely Sings Sinatra
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Ol' Blue Eyes is always ripe for a top-notch, big-band-flavored tribute, but how many who take on the daunting task knew him as well as his contemporary, whom Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. once dubbed "the female Sinatra"? And in case you don't know the history, Frank Sinatra Jr.'s liner notes and numerous archival photos of Smith with Sinatra fill you in. Smith recorded this prior to the legend's passing in 1998 and even had his thumbs up on the project, but held back its release so as not to appear to be capitalizing on the Sinatramania which followed his death. With the ample and energetic backing of the Frankie Capp Orchestra, Smith does him proud on 18 chestnuts from his catalog, her voice clear and honest, her phrasing sharp and emotional. The arrangers don't bombard you with too much brass where it's not welcome; Smith does the verses of "All the Way" with mostly a subtle string accompaniment, then the brass builds slowly with the emotion of the piece. Ditto "My Way." And Sinatra Jr. notes as you can that certain turns of phrase bring out a touch of humor. The set is bookended with a spoken intro and outro by Sinatra Jr. over an instrumental passage of Smith's signature song "I Wish You Love." First rate, but then again, it had to be.
Born: 09 March 1932 in Norfolk, VA
Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s
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