Picks and Pans Review: Portrait of An Album

updated 04/14/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/14/1986 AT 01:00 AM EST

Frank Sinatra and Quincy Jones

Shot in the studio where Sinatra was recording his L.A. Is My Lady album in 1984, this tape includes some exciting moments. When he is lost in the music, Sinatra is all but transformed; where seconds before he had been a bored-looking elderly man, when he performs he often seems almost boyish in his passion. Jones, directing an all-star band playing in the studio as Sinatra sings—a rarity in these days of remixing and layered recordings—appears beside himself with pleasure at times. If this tape were all a straightforward rendering of what happened in the studio, it would be a triumph. But the result is a tribute, not a portrait of Sinatra. He is never shown making even a slight musical mistake or displaying any normal, human sign of temper. The closest anyone comes to criticism is Jones, saying, "Frank always comes prepared. If you're not ready, he may start without you." The composers Alan and Marilyn Bergman (who co-wrote L.A. Is My Lady), Jones and Phil Ramone (the pop producer who recorded the LP) are among those called to testify to Sinatra's greatness. The testimonials are hardly objective, and more important, unnecessary. When you can sing like Sinatra, you shouldn't need people standing around to point out how great you are. (MGM/UA, $39.95)


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