New York

by: Frank Sinatra

Without argument, Frank Sinatra is the most iconic American singer of the 20th century. This whopping five-disc set issued by Reprise attempts to define Sinatra by capturing performances he made in the place that seemingly defined him, containing 61 never-before-issued tracks of the singer in concert appearances in New York from the mid-'50s through to 1990. It also includes a DVD of a performance at Carnegie Hall, taped in 1980 with 16 more performances, for a total of 77 tracks. Disc one features radio broadcasts. Its first four cuts are taken from his appearance at the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra's 20th anniversary gig, broadcast from Manhattan Center in 1955. The selections are all ballads, with the capper being "This Love of Mine." Disc two is comprised of an excellent performance at Carnegie Hall, with Bill Miller conducting the orchestra, and Sinatra's great quartet. This is where we get performances of "My Way," "Send in the Clowns," and "Bad Bad Leroy Brown." Disc three also comes from 1974; recorded at Madison Square Garden, it contains the same core band but also includes Woody Herman & His Thundering Herd. The final CD showcases two excerpts from concerts at Carnegie Hall in 1984, and from Radio City Music Hall in 1990. Interestingly, in the final show, the orchestra is conducted by Frank Sinatra, Jr. Finally, the DVD is a complete 1980 show from Carnegie Hall, with Sinatra's voice still in fine shape and electrifying. The concert looks and sounds like a career retrospective -- from the '50s on, anyway -- but in place of the ubiquitous "My Way," we get the closing theme "New York, New York." Also included in this longbox-formatted set is a 44-page booklet featuring recollections by Frank Jr., Nat Hentoff, Tony Bennett, Yogi Berra, Twyla Tharp, Martin Scorsese, and others. It is filled with rare photographs as well. ~ Thom Jurek

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