Frank Sinatra made his Las Vegas debut at the Desert Inn during September of 1951. His last performance came in May of 1994 at the MGM Grand. During the 43 years between shows, his name became synonymous with the city.
Following Sinatra’s death in 1998, the city honored him by dimming the lights on the strip. He was, without a doubt, the city’s enduring entertainment figure and helped to shape its image as one of the Meccas of entertainment.
Concord Records has now released Best Of Vegas by Frank Sinatra. Seventeen tracks from four different Vegas performances have been banded together to present an excellent overview of Sinatra at his best.
The first group of tracks was recorded at the Sands during November of 1961. Sinatra is backed by Antonio Morelli and His Orchestra. Also on hand are two of his longtime favorites, pianist Al Viola and guitarist Bill Miller. Highlights include “Moonlight In Vermont” and “The Lady Is A Tramp.”
Sinatra returned to the Sands during January and February of 1966. This time he was backed by The Count Basie Orchestra. His classic “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” is given a nice workout and is joined by “Fly Me To The Moon,” “Street Of Dreams,” and “Luck Be A Lady.” Of further interest is a monologue by Sinatra.
The next five tracks jump to March of 1982 with a performance at Caesars Palace. He has a smaller group in support, which featured guitarist Tony Mottola, pianist Vincent Falcone, bassist Gene Cherico, and drummer Irv Cotter. Songs included “All Or Nothing At All,” and the eternal “New York, New York.”
The final group of songs was recorded at the Golden Nugget during April of 1987. It’s nice to compare the singer’s technique with his earlier performances, as “Witchcraft” and “Pennies From Heaven” present the mature Sinatra near the end of his career.
Sinatra was one of the great interpreters of songs of the 20th century. Best Of Vegas is a nice overview of his live style.