Sunday, July 26, 2015

nice 'n' easy

Frank Sinatra completed his Capitol years by continuing his ongoing collaboration with Nelson Riddle on this charming collection of calming classics.    Over the course of more than a decade, the singer had had several successful albums with Riddle doing the arrangements (Songs for Young Lovers,    In the Wee Small Hours,   Songs for Swingin' Lovers!,  A Swingin' Affair!,   and  Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely)  and a few without him  (Where Are You?,  Come Fly With Me,  Come Dance With Me!,   and   No One Cares).   

Sinatra would describe his process:    "First, I decide on the mood for an album, and perhaps pick a title.  Or sometimes it might be that I had the title, and then picked the mood to fit it.  But it's most important that there should be a strong creative idea for the whole package...Then I get a short list of maybe sixty possible songs, and out of these I pick twelve to record.  Next comes the pacing of the album, which is vitally important.  I put the titles of the songs on twelve bits of paper, and juggle them around like a jigsaw puzzle until the album is telling a complete story, lyric-wise...Once we choose the songs that will be in a particular album, I'll sit with Bill Miller, my pianist, and find the proper key.  Then I will meet with the orchestrator, and give him my thought on what I feel the background should be...Usually, we wind up doing it the way the arranger feels it should be done, because he understands more than I do about it...Nelson [Riddle] is the greatest arranger in the world, a very clever musician.  He's like a tranqilizer -  calm, slightly aloof.  There's a great depth somehow to the music he creates.  And he's got a sort of stenographer's brain.  If I say to him at a planning meeting, 'Make the eighth bar sound like Brahms,' he'll make a cryptic little note on the side of shome scrappy music sheet, and, sure enougtr, when we come to the session, the eighth bar will be Grahms.  If I say, 'Make like Puccini,' Nelson will make exacly the same little note, and that eighth bar will be PUccini all right, and the roof will lift off!"

Riddle would relate:    "Frank and I have, I think, the same musical aim.  We know what we're each doing with a song -  what we want the song to say.  Frank would have very definite ideas about teh general treatment, particularly about the pace of the record.  He'd sketch out someting brief, like 'Start with a bass figure, build up secondtime through and then fade out at the end.'  That's possibly all he would say.. Sometimes, he'd follow this up with a phone call at three in the morning with some other extra little idea.  But after that, he wouldn't hear my arrangements until the recording session...In those days, twelve or more songs comprised an album.  Frank would start with the most agonizingly specific comments on the first few tunes, often referring to classical compositions for examples of what he expected to ehar in the orchestration.  This hot, precise, demanding pace would continue for an hour or two, perhaps throught the first four of five songs.  Then, as if he too were beginning to feel the strain, he would start to slack off.  The comments would grow less specific, and perhaps a tune or so later, he would say, simply, 'Do what you think is best.'  My headache would start to subside, my pulse return to normal, and another Sinatra-Riddle album would be launched."

'Nice 'n' Easy' was recorded from March 1 – 3, and on April 13, 1960, at Capitol Studio A in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California with  producer Dave Cavanaugh.   The album spent nine weeks at number one and was nominated for Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, Best Male Vocal Performance, and Best Arrangement.

"Nice 'n' Easy"
Marilyn Bergman would reveal: “With ‘Nice ‘n’ Easy,’ a call had gone out, a kind of open casting call, that the Sinatra people were looking for a song for Sinatra, a title song for an album of lightly swinging love songs. Every writer in Hollywood submitted something and luckily we got the call. Writing for Frank Sinatra was like writing for a character in a play. You know exactly the language, the look, the attitude, everything.”

"Someone To Watch Over Me"


'Nice 'n' Easy'
full album:'N'+Easy

"Nice 'n' Easy" (Alan Bergman, Marilyn Keith, Lew Spence) – 2:45
"That Old Feeling" (Lew Brown, Sammy Fain) – 3:33
"How Deep Is the Ocean?" (Irving Berlin) – 3:15
"I've Got a Crush on You" (George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin) – 2:16
"You Go to My Head" (J. Fred Coots, Haven Gillespie) – 4:28
"Fools Rush In (Where Angels Fear to Tread)" (Rube Bloom, Johnny Mercer) – 3:22
"Nevertheless" (Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby) – 3:18
"She's Funny That Way" (Neil Moret, Richard A. Whiting) – 3:55
"Try a Little Tenderness" (Jimmy Campbell, Reginald Connelly, Harry M. Woods) – 3:22
"Embraceable You" (G. Gershwin, I. Gershwin) – 3:24
"Mam'selle" (Mack Gordon, Edmund Goulding) – 2:48
"Dream" (Mercer) – 2:57

bonus tracks:
"The Nearness of You" (Hoagy Carmichael, Ned Washington) – 2:43
"Someone to Watch Over Me" (G. Gershwin, I. Gershwin) – 2:57
"Day In, Day Out" (Bloom, Mercer) – 3:07
"My One and Only Love" (Robert Mellin, Guy Wood) – 3:12

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