Fifty years ago, Frank Sinatra released one of his finest albums – and indeed, one of the finest albums of all time. Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim arrived in late March 1967 on the Reprise label, marking the first collaboration between America’s foremost vocalist and Brazil’s foremost composer. On April 7, UMe and Frank Sinatra Enterprises will reissue the original album for its 50th anniversary in a new edition featuring two previously unreleased bonus tracks.
For the evening sessions produced by Sonny Burke and held at Hollywood’s Western Recorders between January 30 and February 1, 1967, the venerable artist challenged himself to sing in a new idiom. Accompanied by Jobim on guitar and vocals as well as the orchestra of arranger-conductor Claus Ogerman, his soft, hushed vocals were among his most sensual, passionate, and romantic. His phrasing and always-impeccable interpretive powers emphasized the wistful, longing quality of Jobim’s compositions (such as a gender-reversed “Girl from Ipanema” that still stands today as one of the song’s definitive renditions) as well as of some hand-picked standards rearranged to fit with the album’s prevailing mood: Cole Porter’s “I Concentrate on You,” Irving Berlin’s “Change Partners,” Wright and Forrest’s “Baubles, Bangles and Beads,” which Sinatra infuses with great yearning. Jobim’s gentle, complementary accompaniment brought his partner into a world so far-removed from Nelson Riddle’s insistent brass or Gordon Jenkins’ lush, sweeping strings, the LP might as well have been called Another Side of Frank Sinatra! FAS & ACJ was an instant success, even in the changing musical landscape of 1967. It peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard 200 and remained on the chart for 28 weeks.
A sequel was attempted two years later to be titled Sinatra/Jobim, but the album arranged and conducted by Eumir Deodato was shelved (though an eight-track did creep out, which remains among the most prized Sinatra collectibles). Seven of the ten songs recorded for the second collaborative album became Side Two of a hastily-assembled 1972 LP entitled Sinatra & Company; the other side would be filled with Don Costa-arranged pop fare like “Leavin’ on a Jet Plane” and “(They Long to Be) Close to You.” Two of the three remaining songs had trickled out over the years and the third emerged, along with the others, on 1995’s Complete Reprise Studio Recordings “suitcase” box set (Reprise 47045). A 2010 collection from FSE and Concord, Sinatra/Jobim: The Complete Reprise Recordings (Concord CRE-32026), marked the first time all 20 original Jobim collaborations had been brought together as one album package. Yet that release presented the songs in new mixes, some with alternate vocal takes and extended fades.
There’s no word as to remastering or whether UME’s upcoming reissue will restore the original 1967 mix of Francis Albert Sinatra/Antonio Carlos Jobim, as is hoped, but there is confirmation that the CD will contain two previously unissued bonus tracks. First up is the performance by Frank and Tom (as Jobim was known) of a “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars/Change Partners/I Concentrate on You/The Girl from Ipanema” medley from the A Man and His Music + Ella + Jobim television special. Second is an alternate take of “The Girl from Ipanema” from the session of January 31. (A surround-sound mix of the album was mooted years ago; what a treat a release of that mix would still be!)
In addition to the 50th anniversary CD and digital download release, this classic album will also be reissued sans bonus tracks on 180-gram black vinyl. A 180-gram blue vinyl limited edition release will be available only through Frank Sinatra’s official website and uDiscover Music, Universal’s online store. Look for these releases on April 7; you can pre-order at the links below!
Francis Albert Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim (Reprise FS-1021, 1967 – reissued UMe, 2017)
- The Girl from Ipanema (Gârota De Ipanema)
- Change Partners
- Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars (Corcovado)
- Meditation (Meditacão)
- If You Never Come to Me
- How Insensitive (Insensatez)
- I Concentrate on You
- Baubles, Bangles and Beads
- Once I Loved (O Amoren Paz)
- Medley: Quiet Nights/Change Partners/I Concentrate on You/The Girl from Ipanema
- The Girl From Ipanema (Alternate Take)
Tracks 11-12 previously unreleased