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2009'02.02 (Mon)

The Sinatra Project

去年9月に出たMichael Feinsteinの新譜。日本での知名度向上のためにレビューもどきを書こうと思いつつ、ずるずると今日まで来てしまった。いい加減にしないと書けなくなりそうなのでさっさと片付けてしまおう。
B001G6R9P6ディア・シナトラ
マイケル・ファインスタイン
ユニバーサル ミュージック クラシック 2008-11-05

by G-Tools

このアルバムはThe Sinatra Project(日本盤タイトルは「ディア・シナトラ」)と題したFrank Sinatraに対するトリビュート作品となってます。去年はシナトラの没後10年なんだっけ?それにちなんでるのかもしれないけど、いつものFeinstein節でマニアックに攻めてます。ご本人は否定するかもしれないけど絶対Sinatraにかこつけて好きなことをやっただけに違いない。
選曲はすべてSinatra絡みってことになってる。曲によってSinatraとの関係は様々で、Sinatraの十八番から、Sinatraが録音したらしいけど没になって日の目を見なかった曲とか、Sinatraのために書かれたけど録音されずに終わった曲とか、いろいろ。でもシグネチャーソングみたいなあからさまなSinatraナンバーは避けてるらしい。私はSinatraとはあまり縁がないまま現在に至ってるのでSinatraのレパートリーはちょっとしかわからないけど、そういうのは抜きにして個人的には気に入ってるアルバムです。
AmazonとかiTunesとか各所のレビューを見てるとSinatraと比べてどうこう言ってるのが多いんだけど、このアルバムの本質はそこじゃない!Feinsteinは決してSinatraと同じ土俵で張り合おうなんて思ってないはずだし。私もファンといいつつFeinsteinは歌手として偉大だとは思ってないしな。彼の歌に対する愛情とかソングライターに対する敬意とか、音楽に対する姿勢とか知識とか情熱とかそういうところに惹かれてる。ライブで実際に目の前で歌う姿を見たけど、本当に好きでやってるんだなーというのがわかって、歌を大事にしてるのがわかって、あれだけ丁寧に歌と向き合う人はなかなかいないよと思うから、表面的な部分でダメ出しする人には「何もわかってないな…」と思うのみ。
で、Feinsteinとプロデューサがこのアルバムで目指したことは、キャピトルレコードの初期のステレオサウンドに近づけることらしい。だから録音もバンドやオーケストラはみんな同じ部屋でやったとか。最近はベースやドラムは別室ということが多いらしい。その理由も解説に書いてあるけど長くなるので省略。歌手は別ブースだけど、録音は同時だったのかな?こういう録音方法をずっとやりたかったらしいけど、なかなかやらせてもらえなくて、今回ようやく実現したんだとか。基本は同時録音で、後でミックスダウンや編集はしてるみたいだけどトラックごとに音がくっきり分かれてるという形ではないみたい。最近のジャズ系の録音を聞いてるとベースやドラムの音が浮いてると感じることが多かったから、解説を読んでそういうことなのかなーと思った。素人の耳なのでいい加減な感想だけど。Feinsteinが再現したかったのはSinatraに限らずその時代が持っていた音楽の存在感みたいなものなのかなーと感じる。
もうひとつのコンセプトは実際にSinatraはやらなかったことをやってみるということ。それは各曲紹介の中でおいおいと。
さて、それでは収録曲をひとつづつ取り上げてみますか。

【More・・・】

1. Exactly Like You
1曲目はアップテンポに。この曲を書いたのはSinatra初出演の映画Higher And Higher(1944)で曲を提供していたJimmy McHughという人。でもシナトラはこの曲のスタジオ録音を残してないらしい。それをBilly Mayっぽく仕上げたと。Billy MayっぽさというのはよくわからないんだけどSinatra御用達アレンジャーの一人かな?このアレンジは好き。私は待ってたのよ、まさにこんな曲を!ってね。
2. There's A Small Hotel
これは映画Pal JoeyでSinatraが歌った曲だ。それは知ってる。でも私にとってはRodgers & Hartの作品ってところが重要。可愛らしい曲だから好き。今回はSinatraに倣ってヴァースを創作してくっつけてるらしい。
3. Fools Rush In
これはSinatraの十八番なのかな?ロマンチックで素敵。この曲に関しては詳しい解説がない。
4. The Song Is You
Jerome Kernの曲。Sinatra的位置づけはよく知らない。この曲は色んな解釈があると思うけど、私の中ではアップテンポのイメージなのでこのアレンジは好き。たしか過去のFeinsteinのアルバムではスローに歌ってて、ちがーう!と叫びたかったので今回は満足。この曲に関しても詳しい解説がない。
5. The Same Hello, the Same Goodbye
これはAlan & Marilyn BergmanがSinatraの晩年に本人に依頼されて作って手渡した曲らしい。Sinatraの後半生を振り返るような内容とかで、Sinatraご本人も気に入ってたみたいなんだけど、録音されることはなかったらしい(これも詳細は原文を読むことを勧める)。Bergman夫妻は当初Feinsteinがこの曲を使うことに抵抗してたらしいけど、そこは熱意で押し切ったようで。録音スタジオにAlanを招いてああだこうだやりながら仕上げたらしい。
6. Begin The Beguine
この曲が元々そうなのか、微妙なピッチコントロールをしてるなーというところがやたら気になる。解説によるとSinatraはこの曲を録音してるけれどもそれは若い頃のスウィートなアレンジで、今回はSinatraのシグネチャスタイルであるNelson Riddleのスタイルで再現したんだとか(参考にしたのはI've Got You Under My Skinの録音らしい)。
7. I've Got A Crush On You
Gershwinだ!Sinatraも録音してるかもしれないけどそんなことよりGershwinですよ!(私がGershwinファンだから)自分の中で女の人の歌のイメージが強いかな、これは。Sinatraが歌詞を変更するのに倣って新しい歌詞を追加してるらしい。最後の方のやつかな?
8. It's All Right With Me
これは映画Can Canで使われた曲なんだとか。この映画は見てみたいのにDVD出てないんだよー。出しやがれ。それはともかくこのアレンジも好き。wrongって単語が頻発するのが非常に気になる歌だ。
9. You Go To My Head
これもSinatraなのかー。あんまりいろんな人のバージョンは知らないけど、Rod StewartとBing Crosbyのは聴いたことある。この曲に関しては詳しい解説がない。
10. How Long Will It Last
綺麗な曲だとは思うんだけど、メロドラマのBGMになりそうなべたなアレンジなのでつい笑ってしまう…。これはJoan Crawfordが1931年に録音したけどリリースには至らなかったそうで。それを古レコードマニアのFeinsteinは手に入れてて、そんなに面白くはないけど記憶には残ってたそうだ。その後、友人からSinatraが同じタイトルの曲を録音してたと聞いて、もしかして同じ曲?と疑ってその曲を聞かせてもらったら同じ曲だったらしい。Sinatraが1947年か48年にXavier Cugatのオーケストラと録音したものらしいけどどうにも気に入らずに結局はリリースされなかったらしい。んで、Feinsteinとしてはこの曲に1940年代のAxel Stordahlの雰囲気を取り入れようと思ったとか。Pink Martiniというバンドと共演してるらしい。とかいろいろ解説には書いてあるけど、後は原文読んでね。個人的にSinatraの初期の芸風は苦手なので、この曲に対する自分の反応に納得。それはさておき曲にまつわるエピソードを読んでると、さすがレコードおたくめ…と思ってしまう。(褒めてます)
11. All My Tomorrows/All The Way
静かなバラードをメドレーで。All The Wayっていい曲だよねー。ただひたすら好き。この2曲はどちらもJimmy Van HusenとSammy Cahnの作。私にとってVan HusenといえばJohnny BurkeとのコンビでBing Crosbyの映画のために曲をたくさん書いてた人ってイメージなんだけど、Sinatra的にはSammy Cahnとのコンビってことになるんだろうか。
12. At Long Last Love
イントロのアレンジが楽しい。こういうFeinsteinが好きだなあ。ライブなら前の曲で一旦終了して、アンコールでこの曲をやるって感じだな。この曲ではSinatraがやってたようにオリジナルの歌詞に手を加えることをやっているらしい。Feinsteinの友人の作詞家Marshall Barerが何年か前に書いたものを使ってるとか。(詳しくは解説を読もう)
以上、解説からの引用も含めて書き散らかしてみました。なんかパフォーマンスの感想というより曲の解説になってる気がしないでもないけど…
他にこの辺のレビューが面白くて参考になった。
http://www.talkinbroadway.com/sound/october1708.html
http://articles.latimes.com/2008/sep/01/entertainment/et-feinstein1
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/01/arts/music/01fein.html
http://www.temenos.net/2008/08/out-profile-michael-feinstein-1.html
ところでこのアルバムは、発売1ヶ月前くらいに気づいて、喜んで輸入盤を買ったんだけど、それからしばらくして日本盤が出ることを知って微妙にがっくりした。
日本盤も、せめて特別な解説文がつくとかさー、ボーナストラックが入るとかさー、おまけがあれば文句を言わずに買ったんだけど、英文ライナーの翻訳と歌詞対訳だけなんだもん。つまらん。でも日本での需要があることをレコード会社にアピールするためにという健気なファン魂から買っちゃいましたよ。次の来日も期待したいしさー。それくらい日本じゃ知られてない人なんだもん。ファンとしてはがんばるよ。
だたし、通常この手の曲の歌詞は今更歌詞カードがなくても色んなところで手に入れられるんだけど、今回はちょっとだけ歌詞に手を加えてるのとかあるし、レアな曲もあるし、それを自力で聞き取らなくてもよかったという意味ではちょっとだけありがたかったかも。
B001D5DQDOThe Sinatra Project
Michael Feinstein
Concord 2008-09-02

by G-Tools

以下は解説文の引用。
Don't let the boyish good looks and boundless energy fool you; Michael Feinstein is rapidly approaching two silver milestones. Next year will mark the 25th anniversary of the four time Grammy nominee's professional debut; and Feinstein's forthcoming album, The Sinatra Project, due September 2 from Concord Records, will be his 24th release (and eighth since joining the label in 1998).

Arguably the world's foremost, and certainly the most passionate and indefatigable, anthropologist and archivist of the Great American Songbook, Feinstein has dedicated his career to preserving, protecting and promoting the work of the great tunesmiths, ranging from household names like Gershwin, Porter and Berlin to such lesser-known craftsmen as Hugh Martin and Burton Lane. It's no wonder that the Library of Congress invited him to serve on its elite National Sound Recording Advisory Board.

The Sinatra Project, Feinstein's first recorded tribute to another performer, takes his dynamic career in an exciting new direction. As for his choice of subject, Feinstein explains that, "Sinatra considered himself, first and foremost, an interpreter of song, and his influence on other entertainers is incalculable. He has become so thoroughly entrenched in the history of American popular song that it is impossible to open your mouth and sing without his influence being part of that."

Unlike a myriad of others who have shaped Sinatra tributes, Feinstein had no desire to "literally copy what he did. I have a different point of view. I was interested in reflecting his taste in music. I wanted to create an album that would explore his style of singing and his style of music. The actual swing sound we attribute to Sinatra was created by Nelson Riddle. They consciously decided, at one point in the early 1950s, that they were going to create a new sound and a new way to interpret these songs. It's a sound that reflects a certain era, even though it was only part of that era, and I find it fascinating that it has transcended the time in which it was created to become almost a generic sound. So, this album is not only a tribute to Sinatra, but also to his collaborators: to Nelson Riddle, and also to Billy May, Axel Stordahl and the dozens of other musicians with whom he worked through the years, from Count Basie to Quincy Jones, Don Costa, Skip Martin, Johnny Mandel, etc."

In excavating the Sinatra songbook, Feinstein and producer/arranger/conductor Bill Elliott decided it would be interesting to reinterpret certain tunes as Riddle or May might have done them. Most notable is "Begin the Beguine," which Sinatra recorded in 1946 with Stordahl, now refitted by Feinstein and Elliot into a swinging Riddle groove. "The style of the track," says Feinstein, "is an homage to Nelson's ‘I've Got You Under My Skin.' It was great fun to do that because people will think they've heard it before, even though it's brand new."

For the album's opener, Feinstein and Elliott chose "Exactly Like You" by Sinatra's good friend, Jimmy McHugh, who also wrote the score for Sinatra's first featured film role, in 1944's Higher and Higher, and penned several major hits for him. So, says Feinstein, "because Sinatra was so strongly associated with him, I thought it would be fun to take another McHugh song and Billy May-ize it. "Exactly Like You" has a certain energy that lends itself to this conceit, which made it irresistible. When Bill asked what I wanted to do with the song, I said, ‘Billy May - the slurping saxes,' and he immediately captured the Billy May style."

Considering that, as Feinstein observes, "Sinatra's influence on American popular music is probably more thoroughly documented than any other entertainer," it's hard to imagine there could be anything new to be mined from the Sinatra archives. But leave it to Feinstein to unearth two priceless nuggets. The first is a lilting ballad called "How Long Will It Last," which Feinstein says he first knew of "from a Joan Crawford recording. In 1931, she made a record of "How Long Will It Last" which was never released. Being an inveterate collector, I somehow got a copy if it. It wasn't particularly interesting, because she was not a great singer; but I've never forgotten the song. Then, my friend Chuck Granata told me Sinatra had recorded a song called "How Long Will It Last." I wondered, ‘Is it possible it's the same song that Crawford recorded?' He got me a copy of the unreleased track, done by Sinatra with Xavier Cugat's orchestra in 1947 or '48. It's a Latin track, and Sinatra gets irritated about something in the middle of it. Something goes wrong, and he says ‘Get me the hell out of here!,' and they never fixed it, never did another take. He purposefully aborts it because it's clear he doesn't want it used."

For his version, Feinstein "wanted to do something that reflected Sinatra's 1940s recordings with Axel Stordahl and evoke that era. I approached Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini about doing a collaboration, and he was very enthusiastic about it. To me, Pink Martini is one of the great modern interpreters of world music and this particular style. I sent him the two recordings of Joan Crawford and Sinatra. He called back and said, ‘How about doing it a little slower, as maybe a Cuban mambo sorta thing.' So, I flew up to Portland and we did it live, all in one room. We evolved the arrangement that Thomas had worked out, and China Forbes, their vocalist, and I started doing takes. By the fifth take we thought we'd nailed it. Stylistically, it is something that's closest to Sinatra's '40s efforts."

The other lost gem, "The Same, Hello, the Same Goodbye," comes from the husband-and-wife team of Alan and Marilyn Bergman, one of Sinatra's favorite songwriting teams throughout the latter half of his career. "The Bergmans worked a lot with Frank," says Feinstein. "He used to call them ‘the kids.' Sinatra first met them when they wrote "Nice 'n' Easy" for him on spec. One day they got a call from Frank, asking if they could write what he called a "performance piece" for him... So they got together with John Williams and wrote this four-section piece. When they finished, Sinatra told them to come to Palm Springs. There was Williams at the piano and Alan singing, and when they finished Sinatra was sobbing. He said, ‘Jesus, how do you know so much about my life?' and Marilyn laughed and said, ‘As if your life is a closed book!' Sinatra kept saying, ‘I'm going to learn that thing, it's fantastic,' but he never did. So, when I was putting this recording together, I called Alan and Marilyn and asked about the piece. Alan was a little cagey about it. They kept me on tenterhooks.... [But] I kept after them, and finally Alan said, ‘come over.' They'd extracted one of the songs. I sat down and read through the lead sheet, and was deeply moved by it. About three weeks later, I recorded it with Alan in the studio to make sure I did it to their satisfaction."

When the suggestion is made to Feinstein that he sounds extremely loose and relaxed throughout the entire album, he acknowledges that, "In a certain way, I am. Sinatra had a very distinctive style of phrasing that has been picked up by a lot of people in conscious imitation, but it's more difficult to generally evoke his style. I listened to a lot of his records, paying attention to how he phrased, not to do a carbon copy but to get a proper sense of it. One thing his did was to backphrase just a little bit. Often he'd be right on the beat, but sometimes he backphrased. Today, the tendency of singers is to backphrase a lot. Extreme backphrasing has evolved through the decades and makes the songs sound more contemporary, for me in a detrimental way, because when you backphrase a lot and slow up the tempo, it affects the overall texture of the song."

To ensure the precise sound they wanted, Feinstein and Elliott opted to record the bulk of The Sinatra Project inside fabled Capitol Studio A in Los Angeles. "It is an extraordinary place," enthuses Feinstein. "It is still one of the best studios in the world and one of the last surviving ones. I think of all the great singers who, in addition to Sinatra, have recorded there, including Nat Cole, Peggy Lee and Judy Garland."

Feinstein and Elliott's goal was to get "as close as we could to the early stereo sound on those Capitol records. There was a certain kind of clarity and simplicity in the sound that is missing today; because bands are now miked quite differently than they were in the '50s. When I listen to pop recordings of these standards, the first thing I hear is an antiseptic sound in the bass and drums. That's usually a giveaway that it's a newer recording, because the classic recordings had the drums live in the room with the rest of the instruments and there was bleed into the rest of the microphones. Nobody does that anymore, because they're so afraid of the drums overpowering the rest of the section. Recording has become a victim of technology in that the overall sound isn't as warm and cohesive, or perhaps as honest. [For The Sinatra Project sessions] everybody was in one room, except me. I was in a booth, as Sinatra was. It took us about 40 minutes to balance the live sound. It was very exciting, [even though] the musicians were a little doubtful at first. It's something I've wanted to do for years but no one would let me. Bill has wanted to do it, too. When I first recorded with Bill back in 1995, we talked about doing this, but no one would let us. But with him being the producer as well as the arranger on this album, he said, ‘We're going to do it this way.' Everyone went along with it, and once it started coming together everybody got very excited because there was that early '50s transparent stereo sound that gave a sheen to the music."

Further extending the album's connections to the past, Feinstein wanted to honor the Sinatra tradition of adding special lyrics to songs, often written for him by Sammy Cahn. "Sammy was amazing," says Feinstein. "He was a very good friend. He would write special material for hundreds of people and always did it for free. He said, ‘If I charged you, you couldn't afford me.' He did it time and time again for Frank." Eager to echo Cahn's gifted way with words, Feinstein chose to add lyrics to "At Long Last Love." It is, he says, "the kind of song that lends itself to parody. Cole Porter set the form and, over the years, many people have toyed with the words. Several years ago my friend Marshall Barer, who was a particular fan of Porter's work, wrote extra lyrics as an homage to him. Because Sinatra was closely associated with Cole Porter, and reinterpreted him in ways that sometimes pleased Porter and sometimes angered him, it seemed a good way to close the album and also to create more of a theatrical ending."

Concord Music Group, Inc. http://www.concordmusicgroup.com/artists/Michael-Feinstein/
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