Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Frank Sinatra: Duets: 20th Anniversary Edition

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Frank Sinatra was 77 when he recorded Duets in 1993, and though a companion collection and one final studio album would follow, it truly was his last hurrah. He was back at Capitol Studios, the setting for his landmark 1950s sessions. The tunes were among the most beloved in his canon. The charts were equally recognizable, either the original classics tailored to him by Riddle, May, Costa, Hefti and Mandel, or respectful reinterpretations thereof. The project oozed class. The concept, duets with fellow A-list vocalists young and old, was, if not revolutionary, at least fresh. His voice, its encroaching haggardness varying from track to track, was still strong, still noble.

And yet Duets never quite gels. The trouble, widely observed at the time, is that they’re not truly duets. Sinatra laid down his parts solo, leaving the likes of Streisand, Minnelli, Bennett, Jobim and Aznavour to mold themselves around his prerecorded vocals. Best, then, to think of it as a stylish series of hugs for a collective hero.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published