The somewhat graceless title of this release tells the story. This is Sinatra At The Sands without Sinatra. That outstanding release sold very well in its day, and in 1998, Reprise Records compiled 13 songs from the Basie introductions and released them separately. Basie’s was one of the great bands of the swing era. He was active beginning in the 1920s and led a big band until his death in 1984.
The popularity of big bands plummeted after the Second World War, but Basie continued to reinvent himself and stay relevant, backing vocalists such as Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Joe Williams and Tony Bennett. Some of his greatest albums date from the 1950s, but by the mid-1960s his reputation was at a bit of a low. You wouldn’t know it from this great performance however. Basie turns in a top drawer set of his best known tunes, along with a killer version of the country classic ‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’ arranged by Quincy Jones. The new release sounds fabulous, with the same great sonics as the Sinatra original, but with Frank’s bad jokes out of the way, the amazing dynamic punch and bass wallop of a great big band shines more brightly.