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Sinatra, jazz, solos

Discussion in 'General Jazz Discussions' started by rgeberer, Jan 15, 2015.

  1. rgeberer

    rgeberer Member

    Sinatra, I know, isn't exactly jazz, but he did often play with jazz musicians and orchestras (Ellington, Basie, Woody Herman). Although he's a great singer, here's my pet peeve about him--why did he almost never allow instrumental solos on his songs?
     
  2. Dinosaur

    Dinosaur Member

    Location:
    Western Australia
    With singers like Sinatra, there is only room for one "Star" on a recording, which is the reason I think his records with Nelson Riddle are the best, although I do like those with "Basie". I am liable to get shot down here, but even Ella only "scatted" with the musos on the "Jazz at the Phil" recordings, which are usually live concerts.

    Dino
     
  3. LASaxman

    LASaxman Active Member

    Most vocal records, especially those only running around the 3 minute length that was common in the forties and fifties, only had an eight or sixteen bar instrumental release. Sometimes that was a solo, but usually some kind of ensemble.

    One famous solo that comes to mind was the Milt Bernhart trombone solo on "I've Got You Under My Skin". I'm sure there were others and some other forum members will know them.

    There is some nice solo flute work on "Fly Me To the Moon" but it is mostly behind the vocal. I think it was Frank Wess.
     
  4. Rudy

    Rudy ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff Member

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    Just catching up on this thread.

    This is common on a lot of recordings I have that feature vocalists. It is not uncommon to have exactly what David says above--maybe eight or sixteen bars to put in an instrumental break and/or solo. This even extends into pop and rock music. There are likely some pop hits you remember where the instrumental solo is used as a break (or a "hook" depending on how you look at it). Hall & Oates, "I Can't Go For That (No Can Do)", textbook example--sax solo between choruses.

    Instrumental albums even featured this--listen to one of Mancini's soundtrack albums. You might have the melody played in three different voicings. Take "Sally's Tomato" from Breakfast at Tiffany's. The melody is first stated by trumpets. Then repeated by the bari sax and trombones...that section then slips into a bari sax solo. Voices come back in to carry the melody back to the trumpets to finish out the song.

    Going through my head today was Mel Torme's great hard-swinging album Swings Shubert Alley (with Marty Paich's orchestra), and some of the great solo breaks in each song. "Whatever Lola Wants" is a real cooker, giving Art Pepper and Frank Rosolino eight bars each. On other songs, there might be an ensemble instrumental break in lieu of a solo.
     
  5. Kurt

    Kurt Active Member

    I love the classic Teddy Wilson sides with Billie Holiday, where LD sings a chorus in the context of a jam session. The jazz interest includes both the obbligato behind the vocalist (Prez!) and a couple of full chorus solos, or choruses split between two instrumentalists. It's a format that's survived in British-style trad bands, possibly because British trad music was (in its heyday) danced to.
     
  6. LASaxman

    LASaxman Active Member

    Many of the records by big bands of the thirties and forties would feature the band more than the vocalist. On the label it would say something like "Vocal refrain by Helen Forrest". The vocalist would only get to sing for a minute or so on a three minute record.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Rudy

    Rudy ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff Member

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    I think my dad had a couple of those old Sinatra 78s on Columbia and yes indeed, "vocal refrain" was the order of the day. I still have many of his in the basement--really, not that many, but a couple dozen that he chose to hang onto. Nothing rare at all--just big band and dance band hits of the day.
     

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