Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Out of print in the U.S.! Originally released in 1962, Sinatra-Basie was the first of three albums that Frank Sinatra recorded with Swing legend Count Basie, and is also the best. On this album, Sinatra sounds more liberated and energetic than he has in years, while the duo's collaboration raised Basie's profile to a level of popularity he had never attained before. 10 tracks including 'Pennies From Heaven', 'I Only Have Eyes For You' and '(Love Is) The Tender Trap'.
Q (Magazine) (p.128) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "A meeting between musical equals, the singer seemingly enjoys himself all the more for being pushed that little bit harder..."
Personnel: Frank Sinatra (vocals); Count Basie (piano); Freddie Green (guitar); Marshal Royal, Frank Foster, Eric Dixon, Frank Wess, Charlie Fowlkes (saxophone); Thad Jones, F.P. Ricard, Sonny Cohn, Albert Aarons, Al Porcino (trumpet); Henry Coker, Rufus Wagner, Benny Powell (trombone); Buddy Catlett (bass); Sonny Payne (drums).
Recorded in late 1962.
In 1962, Sinatra was probably still giddy with the freedom afforded him by the foundation of his year-old label Reprise. It was in that year that he sought out Count Basie, whom he'd long admired, to record a collaborative album. While Sinatra's work with arranger Billy May stands as some of the most swinging work in either man's career, its tough to out-swing the Count. Basie's blues-influenced big-band sound gives Sinatra an unequalled rhythmic push throughout this album, which truly deserves its "historic" reputation.
Brassy, bold, uptempo numbers are the order of the day on SINATRA-BASIE, and the buoyancy of "Nice Work If You Can Get It" and "Pennies From Heaven" benefits greatly from both Sinatra's warm-hearted enthusiasm and Basie's earthy swing. Even the ballad "I Only Have Eyes for You" is reworked here into a toe-tapper. And with such luminaries as trumpeter Thad Jones and guitarist Freddie Green behind the Basie bandstand, the musicianship is flawless, simultaneously precise and soulful.