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Sinatra And Swingin’ Brass

By Mahnuel Muñoz

The work sports brilliant metal-based arrangements, signed by Neal Hefti, a renowned admirer of Nelson Riddle and with a resume that includes works with Woody Herman and Count Basie.

The album was very well received by critics: “Melody Maker” gave it the “album of the year” award and according to “New Musical Express” it was “the most danceable album Sinatra had ever recorded.”

As happened previously, its release coincided with that of a Capitol Records album, this time “Sinatra Sings Of Love And Things”.
“Sinatra And Swingin’ Brass” spent 16 weeks on the charts, peaking at number 18.

It is an impressive album, which collects the heritage of LPs like “A Swingin Affair” or any of Sinatra’s albums with arranger Billy May. The repertoire is made up of pieces taken directly from the music stands of old swing orchestras and, of course, standards by Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Jerome Kern.

Hefti’s resume is extensive and remarkable; He began making a name for himself in the 1940s as an orchestrator in Woody Herman’s Young Thundering Herd and later contributed to the revitalization of Count Basie’s band in the 1950s. He worked with the Dorsey brothers and saxophonist Coleman Hawkins and maintained a meritorious career in studio and live with his own orchestra.

After “Swingin Brass”, Neal Hefti took over the glorious arrangements of the essential album “Sinatra-Basie: An Historic Musical First”, which unites The Voice with the incredible Count Basie.

Everything seemed to indicate a fruitful professional relationship, but Frank and Hefti did not work together again. The idea circulates among fans that Hefti left Reprise because he wanted to have more prominence on Frank’s albums, to appear on the cover and in the credits more ostensibly. However, those who knew him deny that he was so self-centered.

Hefti always stated that working with Sinatra was a true pleasure and that, where many saw a problematic guy, he found an approachable and brilliant professional.

Hefti later gained worldwide fame for writing the famous melody for the television series “Batman.”

“Goody Goody”
(Johnny Mercer/Matty Malneck)

“They Can’t Take That Away from Me”
(George Gershwin/Ira Gershwin)

“At Long Last Love” (Cole Porter)

“I’m Beginning to See the Light”
(Johnny Hodges/Harry James/Duke Ellington/Don George)

“Don’cha Go ‘Way Mad” (Jimmy Mundy/Al Stillman/Illinois Jacquet)

“I Get a Kick Out of You” (Cole Porter)

(Victor Schertzinger/Johnny Mercer)

“Love Is Just Around the Corner” (Lewis E. Gensler/Leo Robin)

“Ain’t She Sweet”
(Milton Ager/Jack Yellen)

“Serenade In Blue” (Harry Warren/Mack Gordon)

“I Love You” (Cole Porter)

“Pick Yourself Up” (Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields)

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