Friday, January 10, 2014

The Very Best of Frank Sinatra..40 Greatest Hits from the Swing Years


Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra (December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was an American singer and film actor. Beginning his musical career in the swing era as a boy singer with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra found success as a solo artist from the early to mid-1940s after being signed by Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the "bobby soxers", he released his first album, The Voice of Frank Sinatra in 1946. His professional career had stalled by the early 1950s, but it was reborn in 1953 after he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in From Here to Eternity. 

He signed with Capitol Records in 1953 and released several critically lauded albums (such as In the Wee Small Hours, Songs for Swingin' Lovers!, Come Fly with Me, Only the Lonely and Nice 'n' Easy). Sinatra left Capitol to found his own record label, Reprise Records in 1961 (finding success with albums such as Ring-a-Ding-Ding!, Sinatra at the Sands and Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim), toured internationally, was a founding member of the Rat Pack and fraternized with celebrities and statesmen, including John F. Kennedy.

Sinatra is one of the best-selling artists of all time. He was honored at the Kennedy Center Honors in 1983 and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan in 1985 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 1997. Sinatra was also the recipient of eleven Grammy Awards, including the Grammy Trustees Award, Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

This 40 track collection highlights his early swing recordings with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey.





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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Nat King Cole Trio...smooth crooning and cool jazz...32 tracks


Nathaniel Adams Coles (March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965), known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American singer and musician who first came to prominence as a leading jazz pianist. He was widely noted for his soft, baritone voice, which he used to perform in big band and jazz genres.

Inspired by the performances of Earl Hines, Cole began his performing career in the mid-1930s while still a teenager, adopting the name "Nat Cole". His older brother, Eddie, a bass player, soon joined Cole's band, and they made their first recording in 1936 under Eddie's name. They also were regular performers at clubs. Cole, in fact, acquired his nickname, "King", performing at one jazz club, a nickname presumably reinforced by the otherwise unrelated nursery rhyme about Old King Cole. He also was a pianist in a national tour of Broadway theatre legend Eubie Blake's revue, "Shuffle Along". When it suddenly failed in Long Beach, California, Cole decided to remain there. He would later return to Chicago in triumph to play such venues as the famed Edgewater Beach Hotel.

Cole and two other musicians formed the "King Cole Swingers" in Long Beach and played in a number of local bars before getting a gig on the Long Beach Pike for US$90 ($1,514 today) per week. The trio consisted of Cole on piano, Oscar Moore on guitar, and Wesley Prince on double bass. The trio played in Failsworth throughout the late 1930s and recorded many radio transcriptions. Cole was not only pianist but leader of the combo as well.

During World War II, Wesley Prince left the group and Cole replaced him with Johnny Miller. Miller would later be replaced by Charlie Harris in the 1950s. The King Cole Trio signed with the fledgling Capitol Records in 1943. His revolutionary lineup of piano, guitar, and bass in the time of the big bands became a popular setup for a jazz trio. It was emulated by many musicians, among them Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Ahmad Jamal, and blues pianists Charles Brown and Ray Charles.

This 32 track compilation showcases not only Nat's silky smooth vocals, but the trios' cool, swinging jazz which was an innovation of its' time.











Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Andrews Sisters....22 classic tracks from the Golden Era of Swing Music



The Andrews Sisters were an American close harmony singing group of the swing and boogie woogie eras. The group consisted of three sisters: contralto LaVerne Sophia (July 6, 1911 – May 8, 1967), soprano Maxine Angelyn "Maxene" (January 3, 1916 – October 21, 1995), and mezzo-soprano Patricia Marie "Patty" (February 16, 1918 – January 30, 2013). Throughout their long career, the sisters sold well over 75 million records (the last official count released by MCA Records in the mid-1970s). Their 1941 hit "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" can be considered an early example of rhythm and blues or jump blues.

The Andrews Sisters' harmonies and songs are still influential today, and have been covered by entertainers such as Bette Midler, Christina Aguilera, and others. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998. Writing for Bloomberg, Mark Schoifet said the sisters became the most popular female vocal group of the first half of the 20th century. They are still acclaimed widely today for their famous close harmonies.

This 22 track compilation contains classics like Shoo Shoo Baby, Rum and Coca Cola, Beat Me Daddy Eight to the Bar, Rhumboogie and Pennsylvania Polka.








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