Mojo (Publisher) (p.98) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[T]here's fun to be had, particularly with 'Fly Me To The Moon' and 'Hello, Dolly!,' which surfaces as a tribute to Louis Armstrong."
Personnel: Count Basie (piano); Frank Sinatra (vocals).
Audio Mixer: Larry Walsh.
Liner Note Authors: Stan Cornyn; Robin Douglas-Home; Bill Dahl.
Recording information: 1962/1964.
Photographers: Ted Allen; David Sutton .
The long-awaited collaboration between two icons, Count Basie and Frank Sinatra, did something unique for the reputations of both. For Basie, the Sinatra connection inaugurated a period in the '60s when his band was more popular and better known than it ever was, even in the big-band era. For Sinatra, Basie meant liberation, producing perhaps the loosest, rhythmically free singing of his career. Propelled by the irresistible drums of Sonny Payne, Sinatra careens up to and around the tunes, reacting jauntily to the beat and encouraging Payne to swing even harder, which was exactly the way to interact with the Basie rhythm machine -- using his exquisite timing flawlessly. Also, the members of the Basie band play a more prominent role than usual on these two Sinatra records (originally released as Sinatra-Basie and It Might as Well Be Swing), with soloists like Frank Wess -- in some of the finest flute work of his life -- and tenors Frank Foster and Eric Dixon getting prominent solo opportunities on several of the tracks. The music was criticized by some as a letdown when it came out, probably because the charts of Neal Hefti and Quincy Jones rarely permit the band to roar, concentrating on use of subtlety and space. Yet its restraint has worn very well over the long haul. It doesn't beat you into submission, and the treatment of these standards is wonderfully playful. ~ Richard S. Ginell