Frank Sinatra, A Man and His Music

by:  Sean Axmaker

Frank Sinatra had sung on television and even hosted variety specials and series, but when he strutted through the empty hallways of NBC studios, took a stool next to a lonely microphone, and belted out the opening lines to “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” it was a TV revelation. Here was the mature, confident, at times even swaggering saloon singer and balladeer in a solo showcase: literally, the man and his music.

The mix of classic tunes (“I Get a Kick Out of You,” “The Lady Is a Tramp,” “Witchcraft”), key songs from his 1950s reinvention (“Come Fly with Me,” “You Make Me Feel So Young”), and 1960s standards (“My Kind of Town,” “This Is All I Ask”) is mirrored in an effective medley anchored by “It Was a Very Good Year,” giving us a brief tour of his career from the bobby-soxer heartthrob crooning hopeful ditties (“Young at Heart”) to the reflective maturity of the artist in 1965 (the melancholy “Last Night When We Were Young”). Vocally, Sinatra is in excellent form–clear and bold, with the dexterity of his 1950s recordings now colored by phrasing at once thoughtful and seemingly spontaneous–and the combination of top-notch arrangements and impeccably chosen material makes this special Sinatra’s finest televised hour.

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