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September 2006

Frank Sinatra Jr.
That Face!
Reprise

Frank Sinatra Jr. is 62 but he sounds half his age in his first studio album in a decade. Sounding half one’s age must be a genetic thing; Sinatra’s father made a habit of that. Other inherited traits sprinkled throughout: Sinatra Jr.’s DNA of phrasing, the penchant for low notes, punching certain words or syllables and, bless him, crediting arrangers and soloists.

If this album lacks the jazz-oriented joys of the elder Sinatra, there’s no shortage of studio stalwarts who turn the session into a classy production: arrangers such as Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Don Costa, Bill Rogers; soloists like trumpeters Warren Luening, Buddy Childers; trombonists Carl Fontana, Bill Watrous; tenorists Gary Foster, Plas Johnson; and, above all, the lyricists. Thanks to Frank Jr.’s good taste, some memorable words are highlighted: Bobby Troup’s “Girl Talk,” the Bergmans’ lyrics to Dave Grusin’s “Trouble With Hello Is Goodbye,” Rupert Holmes’ neglected “The People You Never Get to Love” and Junior’s clever contribution to the CD, “Spice.”

While That Face! cannot be recommended to jazz buffs, it’s filled with well-arranged quality tunes interpreted by an honest but unexciting voice.

Originally published in September 2006
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