Edinburgh's ever-popular Todd Gordon presented his fans with another new ‘first' by marrying his voice to a big band sound. His Sinatra-Basie Sessions Revisited opened up a new dimension, allowing him to build on his well-known Sinatra sessions by singing for the first time with a big band.
The Marcus Pope band started the show with "All of me" from Sinatra at the Sands, the first live recording that Sinatra chose to release under his own Reprise Records label in 1966. The original band was the Count Basie Orchestra.
Todd Gordon's enticing and varied programme ranged across all three of the Sinatra/Basie recordings. His band (saxes, trombones and trumpets with David Patrick in the Count's familiar piano seat) recreated a superb swing rhythm. However, Todd's relaxed, informative preambles were necessarily a little curtailed by time factors.
Numbers such as "I've got you under my skin", "Fly me to the moon", "I only have eyes for you" had the audience tapping their feet and swaying to the music. The band settled into a good swing style, with Wiesnievski and MacNeill playing flaring solo sax spots. In all, some twenty numbers displayed enthralling verve and artistry.
In the white heat that was the 1960's American music scene, which threw off a multitude of shooting stars destined to become important new musics, Sinatra's sessions with the top national swing band became historic moments. He successfully shook off his relationship with Capitol and Nelson Riddle and diversified into other fields.
Similarly, Todd Gordon is well-placed to expand his career into exciting new fields. Sadly, he missed a real opportunity in not giving his very talented regular pianist/arranger any time to display examples of Count Basie's prowess at the piano. Now that would have provided a really rich Sinatra-Basie recreation.
As it was, this show got an ecstatic response from the packed audience and the band achieved a standing ovation. As Todd Gordon said, "They seem to like you". They sure did!
Performance: Aug 14
© Pat Napier. 15 August 2008
© Image: Luke Watson