Frank Lamphere :: Retro Crooner :: Frank Songs My Way 2024
"Frank Songs, My Way is a highly enjoyable and easily recommended set of classic music done Frank Lamphere’s way"
- Scott Yanow jazz historian
January 23, 2024
Frank Songs, My Way
Pro singer of The Great American Songbook, Frank Lamphere, after having finished recording his album Now, THAT’S Amore in mid-2021, had the idea to create an entirely different musical project, an homage to none other than Frank Sinatra.
Wow!.....Now that's original!.....Who'd a thought?.....Yeahhh righhht!
.....How'd he ever come up with that one?
One could easily envision the eye-rolls and comments like those.
Rather than another typical Frank Sinatra tribute (there are tons), this would be a tribute to fifteen songs that Frank Sinatra had recorded over his monumental and genre-defining sixty-year career. To many Sinatra fans out there, “Frank” is a genre, all its own. “Hey, what are you doing?” Response “Listening to some Frank”. Starting with the premise that nobody can equal, let alone surpass the quality of Frank Sinatra’s beloved recordings and in order to not invite comparisons, Frank Lamphere carefully selected a group of these songs and gave them very different, very fresh interpretations. He aptly named this album Frank Songs, My Way.
Lamphere admits that had he recorded this album earlier in his career, he may not have been capable of doing much with these tunes, that hadn’t already been done. The experience a singer or musician receives from performing thousands of times in front of audiences in clubs and concert halls, from making recordings and all the analysis that goes with that, are essential to developing a unique interpretive musical style. Lamphere was ready for the task.
Coming up with the content of this album, was accomplished in three steps.
Step one, obviously, was to select “Sinatra” recorded songs. There were more than 1200 to choose from. Both studio recordings and live versions such as “The Shadow of Your Smile” were fair game. True, this great standard was often accepted as a “Tony Bennett song”, but since it was included on the 1966 Sinatra at the Sands LP, for album consideration purposes, it’s a “Frank” song.
Step two, given the sheer magnitude to which these Sinatra performances have engrained themselves in listeners’ hearts and minds over the decades, Lamphere’s versions needed to be very distinctive from those, but not just different for-the-sake-of being different. They had to be interesting and they had to make sense. This was accomplished in most cases by changing the keys (lower), altering time signatures, tempos and feel. As in the case of the iconic “Fly Me To the Moon”. The Quincy Jones arrangement of “Fly Me” that Sinatra recorded, was a mid-tempo, big band swinger. Lamphere dropped the key signature a half-step to B major and reverted it back to a waltz (It’s original 1954 form). Like most of Lamphere's jazz recordings to date, he extends the form with instrumental solos, allowing the listener to luxuriate in the song, for a little longer. Reedman (Count Basie Band alumnus) Eric Schneider and the highly vaunted Chicago pianist Jeremy Kahn are featured on Fly Me To the Moon.
The third and absolute hard rule for inclusion was an affinity Lamphere had to have for the particular song. He had no desire to record songs of which he wasn’t highly familiar. Even though these arrangements would differ greatly from the “Frank” versions, they will have been frequently present in Lamphere's live shows. Case in point; “Strangers in the Night”; one of his childhood favorites and a Chairman of the Board #1 charted pop-rock hit, was transformed into a sensual, late-night, jazzy love ballad. A different song entirely!
Big goal, stay as far away as possible from Sinatra. Offer versions of Sinatra songs with their own personality. That is, alternate, acceptable versions of “Frank” songs that so many people remember and continue to enjoy.
With the clear understanding that “Frank” is a genre, Ladies and Gentlemen, Frank Lamphere introduces
Frank Songs, My Way
The song My Way is the lead track on the album. My Way is an anthem of self-determination. Check out this interesting and informative article from NPR on Frank Sinatra's recording of My Way
(above) In the actual moment, Lamphere recording his vocal of
I've Got You Under My Skin
A very different Frank Sinatra tribute album
The album that the industry has been practically begging for,
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