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Thread: Portrait Of An Album (1984) VHS/Laser Disc

  1. #1
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    Arrow Portrait Of An Album (1984) VHS/Laser Disc




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    PORTRAIT OF AN ALBUM
    With Quincy Jones and Orchestra

    Color VHS Video by: MGM/UA Home Video
    Catalog No. MV400648
    Released in US: 1986
    Screening Time: 65 minutes

    Film by Gary Weis
    Produced by Quincy Jones and Emil G. Davidson
    Orchestra conducted by Quincy Jones
    Recorded for Qwest Records album L.A. Is My Lady in 1984:
    April 13-17 (New York City) and May 17 (Los Angeles)

    Songs, with featured soloists and arrangers:

    1. The Best Of Everything
    Frank Wess (alto sax solo)
    Joe Parnello (arranger)

    2. Until The Real Thing Comes Along
    Joe Newman (muted trumpet solo)
    Sam Nestico (arranger)

    3. It's All Right With Me
    George Benson (guitar solo)
    Sam Nestico (arranger)

    4. How Do You Keep The Music Playing?
    Joe Parnello (piano)
    Joe Parnello (arranger)

    5. A Hundred Years From Today
    Urbie Green (trombone solo)
    Sam Nestico (arranger)

    6. After You've Gone
    George Benson (guitar intro)
    Lionel Hampton (vibes solo)
    Frank Foster (arranger)

    7. Teach Me Tonight
    Torrie Zito (arranger)

    8. If I Should Lose You
    Sam Nestico (arranger)

    9. Stormy Weather
    Lee Ritenour (guitar solo)
    Sam Nestico (arranger)

    10. Mack The Knife
    Major "Mule" Holley ("grunt" bass solo)
    George Benson (guitar solo)
    Joe Newman (muted trumpet solo)
    Urbie Green (trombone solo)
    Lionel Hampton (vibes)
    Frank Foster (arranger)

    11. L.A. Is My Lady
    Ralph MacDonald (percussion intro)
    George Benson (solo guitar fills)
    Bob James (electric piano solo)
    Dave Matthews, Quincy Jones, Jerry Hey, Torrie Zito (arrangers)

    [Edited song order above to reflect the video rather than the album.]

  3. #3
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    This color film documentary provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the making of Frank Sinatra's last solo studio album. It includes commentary by Quincy Jones, musicians Lionel Hampton and Frank Foster, songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman, and session/recording engineer Phil Ramone.

    For earlier discussion, see the thread in Frank's Recordings: L.A. Is My Lady. Here is a relevant quote from that thread:
    Originally posted by Bill of Naples (09-22-2004) I have both the long and short versions of The Making Of An Album on video cassette. Don't know if it is on DVD but I want to share with anyone who has not seen it, that it is great. And the respect that all those famous musicians showed Mr. S. when he walked in the room was something to behold. When he finished Mack The Knife, those great musicians were stunned. Something to see.
    Although this VHS video was highly successful, achieving an RIAA Platinum Video certification (100,000 units sold), it has yet to be released in DVD format.

  4. #4
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    Portrait of an Album: The Making of "L.A. Is My Lady"

    I just finished re-viewing this film, and I want to reiterate Bill of Naples' comment above. This is a sheer joy to see! If ever a VHS video cried out for conversion to DVD, it is this tape.

    The color photography is magnificent, the commentary is edifying, and the music is superb. Not only do you see FS and Q in the recording studio performing all of the songs from the album (including the original vocal track to "Mack The Knife"), but you get to see many of the all-star lineup of jazz musicians. If you've ever wondered who Frank was talking about when he sings:

    "We got George Benson, we got Newman/Foster, we got the Brecker Brothers, and Hamp's bringin' up the rear..."

    you can see "all these bad cats" for yourself. (That's Benson on guitar; Joe Newman, trumpet, and Frank Foster, sax; Randy Brecker, trumpet, and Michael Brecker, sax; and Lionel Hampton, vibes.)

    There are many other vignettes I had forgotten, such as when Frank presents Quincy with a copy of a 1930 payroll sheet for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra, which performed in the same New York studio, and someone in the band calls out to ask, "Is Ray Brown on there?" (Ray Brown, who passed just three years ago, was jazz's preeminent bassist since the '40s. He was once musical director and husband of Ella Fitzgerald, manager of Quincy Jones, and a member of the famed Oscar Peterson Trio. His identifiable bass sound is heard prominently on these sessions.)

    Another interesting moment, from times more innocent than today, was when Quincy brought a young Michael Jackson into the studio to meet Frank Sinatra.

    My favorite song on the album is Michel Legrand's "How Do You Keep The Music Playing?" with lyrics by the Bergmans, who contribute much on-screen commentary here. It is wonderful to be able to see as well as hear Joe Parnello's piano playing on his arrangement of that song. At the conclusion of the performance, the band breaks into applause for Sinatra!

    If you haven't seen this video, or haven't seen it recently, I recommend you do so. Good stuff.

  5. #5
    Marty's Avatar
    Marty is offline Sir Martin Lewis
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    needed bumping
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    Yvonne's Avatar
    Yvonne is offline Little Strudel
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    When I got home and saw this bumped, I just had to dig the tape out and watch it through. It is a very special experience to see Frank in a studio setting, very intimate and it is also interesting when compared to older clips of Frank to see a more casually styled Sinatra (loved the jumpers) rather than the usual suit & tie archetype.
    How Do You Keep The Music Playing is magical to watch.
    That's the way the cookie crumbles
    Yvonne

  7. #7
    George Bellefon's Avatar
    George Bellefon is offline George Bellefontaine
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    I hope a dvd is released soon before I wear out my vhs tape. Man what an album that was and Quincy Jones was having such a great time.
    George B.

  8. #8
    Mark B.'s Avatar
    Mark B. is offline Silver Member
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    Got a bit of grouting to do then i'm going to root out the tape and watch this.
    Oh the things you can do when it's not the footy season!
    'Cause he was Sensational....Thats all!

  9. #9
    Amy L's Avatar
    Amy L is offline "The Best is Yet to Come"
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    this is great VHS which I am lucky to have...To se Frank working with the musicians and Mr, Quincy Jones...I treasure having this....Amy
    Amy

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    Another interesting moment, from times more innocent than today, was when Quincy brought a young Michael Jackson into the studio to meet Frank Sinatra.
    Just revisiting this thread, which is in need of an overdue bump. There's a related post and photo from the past, which is in a Members-Only forum (here), so I'm repeating it below.

  11. #11
    Gregory's Avatar
    Gregory is offline Walter Mitty in Training
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    HAs this ever been issued on DVD? I had it on VHS years ago.

  12. #12
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    FS and Michael Jackson

    I think the photo deserves repeating, along with the caption from Nancy's book:

    Michael Jackson visiting FS during the recording of LA Is My Lady. This is the first time the two legends had met and it was orchestrated by Quincy Jones, who had produced them both. Quincy: “God can’t waste His time giving everybody something unique or original, so he just picked a few people. He picked a Louis Armstrong, He picked a Duke Ellington, He picked a Frank Sinatra, He picked a Michael Jackson. There are very few people who get that. You're talking about big stuff now. And on top of it, Frank took the gift and developed it to its ultimate. He knows when to do his homework too. And he picks the right songs. Taste is one of the key words. Taste and style...I mean, the way he phrases...It freaks me.”
    [Photo credit: Ed Thrasher, Warner Bros. Records]


  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregoryr1m View Post
    Has this ever been issued on DVD? I had it on VHS years ago.
    No it hasn't, Greg. As I wrote above:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    If ever a VHS video cried out for conversion to DVD, it is this tape.

  14. #14
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    SinatraFan is offline Life's A Trippy Thing
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    I just got this video and watched it a few days ago. It really was awsome to see Frank in the recording studio while he was actually recording the songs, it truly is a sight to behold. It's a nice companion to the cd. All the songs on the album are good and one of the things I enjoyed the most was hearing for the first time the original version of Mack The Knife. Of course seeing Frank work together with Quincy and some other jazz lengends is another thing I enjoyed. The commentary during the video is some of the best I have every heard for a program like this. It's amusing how these musicians who have worked with many other singers and are well known themselves still were in awe by getting to work with Sinatra. Also, how some of the songs like Mack The Knife completely amazed them.

    This is one video I'm glad I finally got!
    Allen
    "Could start for the corner... turn up in Spain... why try to change me now..."

  15. #15
    Gonzalo Duque's Avatar
    Gonzalo Duque is offline In Memoriam
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    This video was issued on laserdisc and I had a chance to pick it up but I already had and still have the SuperBeta Hi-Fi version. Looks and sounds great, even to this day.
    Gonzalo Duque "Gonzo"
    1997 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC 4.6L Cobra V8

  16. #16
    Mark's Avatar
    Mark is offline Italiano a cuore
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    Thanks for this thread, Bob... This is just what I've been looking for. Hope I can find it.
    Tutti a tavola a mangiare!

  17. #17
    Lynda L's Avatar
    Lynda L is offline Platinum Member
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    I'd love to get this video too. I haven't been able to find it yet. But I do have those songs on cd. I particularly love If I Should Lose You. The orchestration on that song is terrific. It'd be fun to watch that performance.
    "Here's to trouble-free tomorrows. May your sorrows all be small."

  18. #18
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    SinatraIsLove is offline Platinum Member
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    I can't believe I haven't commented on this yet!

    I received this video as my prize from Nancy for being the 3,625,002nd visitor (there were two anonymous visitors before me) to the site. What a doll Nancy is, taking the time to figure out what I would like and then sending it to me with a lovely note! Thank you so much, Nancy!

    I watched it the same week I got it and watched it again last night. What a great documentary! I know some people say that this album is "dated" but I really loved all of the songs. My absolute favorite is "How Do You Keep The Music Playing?" The tinkling piano throughout, coupled with the gentle lyrics slays me every time.

    This video absolutely MUST come out on DVD. The quality was a little fuzzy because I was watching it on a 61" HDTV so the format was skewed. I was imagining how much better it would be if they re-mastered it and released it on DVD. If and when they do release it on DVD, they should add the clip of Frank singing the version of "Body & Soul" that was also recorded during this session. That would pretty much complete it

    Frank and Q seem to be having so much fun together on the video and it was sweet of Frank to give him a copy of the 1930 payroll sheet for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra. Bob, it seems we agree on everything!

    I also absolutely adore the smile that stretches across Frank's face when he hears Major Holley grunting while playing his bass Seeing him so tickled make hearing "Mack The Knife" that much better when Major Holley does his solo.

    The commentary throughout is priceless, especially by Quincy himself, and it seemed that everyone truly loved Frank and had a ball during the making of this album. I wish I could have been there!
    Kate

    "Frank is just like you. Just like me. Only bigger."

  19. #19
    Gail's Avatar
    Gail is offline Platinum Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by SinatraIsLove View Post
    I can't believe I haven't commented on this yet!

    I received this video as my prize from Nancy for being the 3,625,002nd visitor (there were two anonymous visitors before me) to the site. What a doll Nancy is, taking the time to figure out what I would like and then sending it to me with a lovely note! Thank you so much, Nancy!

    I watched it the same week I got it and watched it again last night. What a great documentary! I know some people say that this album is "dated" but I really loved all of the songs. My absolute favorite is "How Do You Keep The Music Playing?" The tinkling piano throughout, coupled with the gentle lyrics slays me every time.

    This video absolutely MUST come out on DVD. The quality was a little fuzzy because I was watching it on a 61" HDTV so the format was skewed. I was imagining how much better it would be if they re-mastered it and released it on DVD. If and when they do release it on DVD, they should add the clip of Frank singing the version of "Body & Soul" that was also recorded during this session. That would pretty much complete it

    Frank and Q seem to be having so much fun together on the video and it was sweet of Frank to give him a copy of the 1930 payroll sheet for the Paul Whiteman Orchestra. Bob, it seems we agree on everything!

    I also absolutely adore the smile that stretches across Frank's face when he hears Major Holley grunting while playing his bass Seeing him so tickled make hearing "Mack The Knife" that much better when Major Holley does his solo.

    The commentary throughout is priceless, especially by Quincy himself, and it seemed that everyone truly loved Frank and had a ball during the making of this album. I wish I could have been there!
    Congratulatoins, Kate! I just purchased this VHS recently and watched it for the first time today. It is also fuzzy on my 36" TV, so I think it is just the VHS -- we are so used to the clarity of DVD. It is an AWSOME and HISTORIC show and certainly worthy of DVD release.

  20. #20
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    Bumping up, in conjuction with Nancy's SIRIUS XM Special Edition for the Smithsonian's Jazz Appreciation Month, plus some related conversation in the Frank's Recordings thread: L.A. Is My Lady.

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