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October 2006

Michael Bolton
Bolton Swings Sinatra: The Second Time Around
Concord Records

Put Michael Bolton in the same Capitol Records studio Frank Sinatra used for many of his hits, add a 17-piece big band with many of the sidemen who helped Sinatra realize those hits, further add a small army of 35 strings and what have you got? Wait, it gets worse: Tell arranger Chris Walden to adapt many of the original charts by arrangers such as Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Quincy Jones, et al, and now what’ve you got? A classy, highly polished tribute by a rock-forged pop idol to the iconic essence of a jazz singer.

If you’re going to pay tribute to the Generalissimo, then at least name those underappreciated arrangers who toiled to create the Sinatra sound. The only name besides Bolton’s is his fiancée's, Desperate Housewives’ Nicollette Sheridan, who sings a duet with Bolton (if total unison qualifies as a duet) on “The Second Time Around.” The rest is first-rate pop singing, pop timbre and pop feeling. To be frank, Bolton’s fans will adore the results.

Originally published in October 2006
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