Best of Vegas
Think 1960s ultra hip, and you’re in Sinatra country. Leader of the Rat Pack and poster boy for Vegas and Ocean’s Eleven (no, not the prequel to the sequel one), Sinatra was the ultimate landing spot for jazz in the 20th century. The hot jazz of the flapper days chilled to the default musical style of sophisticated adults, just as hip hop now appears in car ads.
Sinatra sang all over the strip and downtown, with this collection originating in the Sands, Caesars Palace, and the Nugget and representing a quarter-century of shows from 1961 to 1987. Each track is superb in sound and style, but it’s not clear if these were recorded “accidentally” or as archives. Sinatra banters with his audience, makes off-color jokes, and, most interestingly, the sound appears to come from his mic and his mic alone. Vocals are fresh but the backing bands (including Count Basie, Antonio Morelli, Vince Falcone, and Tony Mottola) sound a bit distant, far behind the audience applause. Perhaps this is just the mic track, with the music spilling in as the sound booth would hear him. Naturally, he belts the standards, from the sappy “Moonlight in Vermont” to the rollicking “The Lady Is a Tramp,” “Fly Me To the Moon,” “Luck Be a Lady,” and the big closer “New York, New York.”
This is as close to the live concert experience as you’ll ever get on an iPhone, and it’s very highly recommended. Waiter! Another scotch. And easy on the ice. We only want the pure stuff here.