Two of John Pizzarelli’s greatest influences, Frank Sinatra and the bossa nova composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, joined forces in 1967 to present a softer, sultrier side of Sinatra on the heels of “That’s Life” and “Strangers in the Night.” Half a century later, John Pizzarelli is celebrating that unique gathering with his July 28, 2017 Concord Jazz release Sinatra & Jobim @ 50.
Sinatraphiles consider the 1967 album Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim one of Frank’s greatest, a meeting that found Frank in an out-of-character setting. Yet he delivered a
commanding and understated performance over Jobim’s gentle rhythms and Claus Ogerman’s strings. With Sinatra & Jobim @ 50, Pizzarelli pays tribute to those original recordings, enhancing that collection with two originals, Michael Frank’s ode to Jobim and songs that Sinatra and Jobim recorded at a 1969 session.
“Jobim was such a big influence on me in the 1980s—what I was hearing, then translating and what I was taking away from it,” John says. “A lot of what we did on this record, the medleys and the arrangements for the new songs, come out of what they did on their album and the influence they have had on my music.”
Jobim’s grandson, Daniel Jobim, is John’s duet partner on the Jobim classics Sinatra and Jobim recorded together: “Água de Beber,” “Bonita,” “This Happy Madness (Estrada Branca)” and “Dindi,” plus a medley of “Meditation” and “Quiet Night of Quiet Stars.” They also cover the standards from the 1967 LP, “Baubles, Bangles & Beads” and a medley of “Change Partners” with Jobim’s “If You Never Come to Me” plus Cole Porter’s “I Concentrate on You,” which is paired with Jobim’s “Wave.”
Pizzarelli & company also perform Jobim’s “Two Kites,” Michael Frank’s song about Daniel’s grandfather, “Antonio’s Song” and two Pizzarelli-Jessica Molaskey originals, “She’s So Sensitive” and “Canto Casual.”
The idea for Sinatra & Jobim @ 50 sprang up after Pizzarelli and his quartet had a successful string of shows in Brazil in June 2016. One of those shows fell on the birthday of guitarist João Gilberto, whose legendary recording of “The Girl From Ipanema” with Stan Getz made bossa nova a global sensation in 1964. John says his 2004 record Bossa Nova was in many ways a tribute to Gilberto.
“My manager said you should think about making another Brazilian record and I looked around at what would make sense in terms of an anniversary,” says Pizzarelli, who spent much of 2015 and ’16 honoring Sinatra’s centennial with a Frank-centric touring show. “I looked around and noticed Sinatra-Jobim was going to be 50. I thought I’ll call Daniel and ask, ‘you want to do this?’ It could be fun.”
The two had already worked together before. The new album was recorded in three days.
Sinatra and Jobim recorded 10 songs in early 1967 and in April it peaked at No. 19 during a 28-week run on the Billboard chart, eventually receiving a GRAMMY nomination for Album of the Year. Two years and four Sinatra albums later, they reunited, replacing Ogerman with Eumir Deodato and recorded another 10 tracks.
For show dates, visit: www.johnpizzarelli.com