BEHOLD A SINATRA HOLY GRAIL. Talk long enough to any committed fan of Ol’ Blue Eyes and the topic will move away from those unimpeachable Capitol concept LPs of the 1950s - when Frank’s voice soared serenely like a big-winged bird in flight, gliding effortlessly from big band sunrise to bar-room dusk – and onto the work he did in the ’60s, flawed and fascinating LPs that highlighted the true grainy amplitude of the man, and a series of small-run, bootleg and semi-legit CDs of his 1962 live recordings with the Bill Miller Sextet. Taken from Sinatra's 30-date World Tour For Children – intended to raise money and awareness for the world's underprivileged kids, and entirely underwritten by Frank himself – the recordings showed the Chairman Of The Board in an informal state of hushed intimacy.
“The ’60s highlighted the true grainy amplitude of the man.”
One performance that has always been singled out by fans is Sinatra Command Performance, aka Frank’s appearance (before Princess Margaret) at the Royal Festival Hall on June 1, 1962. Although broadcast on ITV the following day, the gig has never been made formally available until now.
The performance will be officially available on December 8 as part of the gorgeous Sinatra: London box set, a 3CD-plus-DVD set comprising a remastered version of Sinatra’s only UK-recorded album, 1962’s Sinatra Sings Great Songs From Great Britain, previously unreleased session material from the album, a 1962 BBC Light Programme radio special (with song introductions by Sinatra himself), a 1953 live session for BBC Radio’s The Show Band Show, a Royal Albert Hall concert from 1984 and a DVD containing the 1962 RFH sextet performance and the a 1970 concert performance at the same venue.
Here’s a sample of Frank at his most mellow, playing with (and playing off) a top-notch jazz sextet. It’s much, much, much, too much and just too very very.
Sinatra: London is available via Universal Music from December 8, 2014. Click for more info.