Crosby Family Wins Lawsuit
After an arduous ten year battle, the heirs of Bing Crosby finally got their day in court. On June 30th, a jury in Santa Monica, California awarded them in excess of 2 million dollars in their lawsuit against Universal Music Group. It’s a significant victory for the Crosby family, as well as for all recording artists whose royalties have been underpaid by record labels.
Crosby’s daughter Mary commented, “Recording artists have a long history of being taken advantage of by their labels, and despite the incredible contribution my father made to the world of music, he was no exception. I give my mother a lot of credit for her willingness to hang in there for over a decade. It seems that record companies prefer to keep things in litigation for as long as possible because most people don’t have the resources to stick it out. This tactic generally works, because the majority of artists settle out of court for far less than they’re due.” Mary was in the courtroom with her mother, Kathryn Crosby, when the verdict was read.
Bing Crosby, who died in 1977, recorded exclusively for Decca Records from August 1934 until December 1955. The Decca catalog was later obtained by MCA Records, which ultimately became part of Universal Music Group. Among Crosby’s 1200 recordings for Decca is “White Christmas”, the best selling record of all time. The Guinness Book of World Records
reports worldwide sales for Crosby’s recording of the song at over 100 million copies. “White Christmas” has entered the American pop charts twenty separate times. The vast catalog of Bing Crosby’s non-Decca recordings is currently being issued through Collectors’ Choice Music and Mosaic Records.
Bing Crosby has sold close to one billion records, tapes, compact discs and digital downloads around the world. He may be the biggest selling recording artist of all time. Only The Beatles, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson can rival his sales figures. Crosby had sold 200 million records by 1960 and the figure had doubled by 1980. Crosby is the most recorded performer in history, having made over 2000 commercial recordings and approximately 4000 radio programs in addition to an extensive list of film and television appearances. He scored 38 number one records – more than The Beatles (24) and Elvis Presley (18). His recordings reached the charts 396 times - more than Frank Sinatra (209) and Elvis Presley (149) combined. Crosby’s closest rival is Paul Whiteman (220) with whose orchestra he sang early in his career.
For additional information about Bing Crosby visit: www.bingcrosby.com
Bing Crosby is on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bing-Crosby/44544738326
The Bing Crosby Archive Series is available from Collectors’ Choice Music at:
The Bing Crosby CBS Radio Recordings 1954-56 from Mosaic Records is available at:
For information about the pubic broadcasting special, The Legendary Bing Crosby visit:
All About Jazz Reviews Sinatra/Jobim
Sing it Out to Swing it Out!
Francis Albert Sinatra/Antonio Carlos Jobim
The Complete Reprise Recordings
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The Complete Reprise Recordings compiles every tune—all 20—that America's supreme vocalist recorded with Brazil's preeminent composer during their legendary late 1960s summits. The first ten comprise the famous, fantastic Francis Albert Sinatra / Antonio Carlos Jobim album arranged and orchestrated by Claus Ogerman, released by Reprise in 1967. Sinatra and Jobim reconvened two years later, with Eumir Deodato replacing Ogerman as arranger, to record 10 more tunes for a second Sinatra-Jobim album that the Chairman withdrew from the market as soon as it was shipped (we'll explain why). Seven of those tunes later appeared as the first side of Sinatra & Company, released by Reprise in 1971; this new compilation unveils the other three—"Bonita," "Desafinado (Off Key)" and "The Song of the Sabia"—for the first time.
Few moments in music are more beautiful and magical than the softly strummed guitar, sighing horns and whispered drums that introduce you to "The Girl From Ipanema," and "Change Partners" stands among Sinatra's best Irving Berlin interpretations. But unless you've experienced the magic and wonder of that first Sinatra/Jobim release, it is almost impossible to explain in words how beautifully its music floats and sways. Since many such words have already been written, we can concentrate on the newly released music instead.
Deodato contributes several fantastic arrangements. He mixes the principals' wordless vocals into the rhythm track of "Drinking Water (Agua de Beber)," bouncing them across the stereo channels, and also serves up the funkiest half-gospel, half-Brazilian piano with which Sinatra ever recorded. Deodato casts Sinatra's voice upon a simply perfect "Wave," with calling acoustic guitars and strings, answering flutes, and Sinatra snuggling down deep in his register with supreme control (and even some extracurricular funky bass/drum "four" play in the fade). Jobim, Deodato and Sinatra vocally and instrumentally illuminate "Someone to Light Up My Life" into a polished, golden glow. That one really should have been a hit.
— Chris M. Slawecki
All About Jazz
Caught In The Carousel Reviews Sinatra/Jobim
The Complete Reprise Recordings
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The pairing of the Chairman of the Board and the quiet boy from Brazil may have been a curious one on paper, but when Sinatra and Jobim recordedFrancis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim in 1967, the results were decidedly miraculous. Time has not only been kind to the ten songs that make up the album, not eroding their majesty one bit, it has revealed all these years later that this is perhaps one of the most elegant recordings of the last fifty years. The compositions may mostly be Jobim's, but Sinatra saunters through them as if they were his all along. The perfect foil for the aging crooner, Jobim's finesse and musical precision give Sinatra ample room to wander in and it's just this combination that reveals the singer's great strengths. In fact, his pauses on "The Girl From Ipanema" his masculine glissades on "Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars (Corcovado) and his his gentle glide on "Dindi" showcase that not only was Sinatra perhaps the greatest phraser of all time, he was also a master interpreter, understanding a song from the inside out. This preternatural gift make Irving Berlin's "Change Partners" subversively seductive, while the many layers of Cole Porter's "I Concentrate On You" are peeled beautifully open.
The back half of this compilation contains the entire Sinatra-scrapped second album, set to be titled Sinatra/Jobim. Recorded in 1969, all didn't go as smoothly as the first and Sinatra's dissatisfaction (he thought some of the songs sounded "off") prompted him to reportedly order executives to "kill the album." Available for the first time in its entirety, Sinatra/Jobim is a worthy follow up to the first. "The Song Of The Sabia," "Someone To Light Up My Life" and "Triste" are particularly winning, while "One Note Samba (Samba de Uma Nota So)" is positively breathtaking. The numbers that made Sinatra uncomfortable—most notably the utterly lovely "Bonita"—might have been scrapped prematurely, as they finish these proceedings in fine fashion.
Either way, these two albums make it clear that Sinatra understood Bossa Nova and Bossa Nova understood Sinatra. The two should have not taken leave of each other so soon.
Caught in the Carousel
Detroit Free Press Reviews Sinatra/Jobim
Antonio Carlos Jobim and Frank Sinatra in the recording studio in the late '60s. (ED THRASHER)
Sinatra swings with the bossa nova king
BY MARK STRYKER
FREE PRESS CLASSICAL AND JAZZ CRITIC
A version of this story appears on page 4J of the Sunday, June 13, 2010, print edition of the Detroit Free Press.
It should never have taken this long, but more than 25 years into the CD era -- and more than 40 years since the two collaborations between Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim were recorded in 1967 and '69 -- we finally have all the material issued on one elegant disc, "The Complete Reprise Recordings" (FOUR STARS out of four stars, Concord).
Mediocre bossa nova albums multiplied like rabbits in the '60s. But the initial pairing of Sinatra with Jobim, an architect of the form and a composer of Keats-like lyricism, produced an undisputed highpoint in the discography of both men, "Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim." Despite just 10 songs lasting only 28 minutes, it remains for me the last true Sinatra masterpiece -- the final album that deserves an unqualified place in the pantheon with Sinatra's classic Capitol concept LPs from the '50s and the best of the Reprise albums from earlier in the '60s.
The magic comes from a lot of places. Sinatra was still able to summon the full measure of his breath control and command of vocal color and shading in 1967; the expressive restraint and taste that he brings to the material perfectly captures the lazy afternoon zephyr of Jobim's aesthetic. Sinatra also catches the cool-jazz lilt at the heart of the bossa nova rhythm. Then there's the material: "Dindi," "Corcovado," "Meditation," "Once I Loved" and others are melodic-harmonic miracles, enhanced by Claus Ogerman's beautifully modulated, transparent orchestrations.
Never did Sinatra sing so softly and seductively as on "Dindi" ("GIN-gee"), where he mines Ray Gilbert's English lyric for every last drop of poignant longing, floating on the cloud of Jobim's guitar, strings and flutes. On the "Girl from Ipanema," Sinatra trades phrases with Jobim's wispy Portuguese to charming effect. Three American songbook standards are given definitive interpretations -- a smoldering "I Concentrate on You," a slyly shuffling "Baubles, Bangles and Beads," and a heartbreaking "Change Partners" that ranks a close second to "Dindi" as the album's best of the best.
The follow-up, "Sinatra-Jobim," arranged by Eumir Deodato, is far less consistent, and Sinatra pulled the record on the brink of release. He was unhappy with his performances on "Bonita," "Desafinado" and "The Song of the Sabia." The seven other tunes found a home as the only worthwhile material on "Sinatra & Company."
By now, the Voice is beginning to fray, but the best performances match the standard of the earlier LP, including a sassy "Aqua de Beber," a sweet "Triste" and a spirited "Wave," where Sinatra reaches down on the last syllable of the word "together" for one of the lowest notes in his recorded canon; he nails it every time in unison with the bass trombone. Oh, man, what a musician he was.
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