The Sinatra Project, Volume II - The Good Life

by Bill Biss

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday October 25, 2011

The Sinatra Project, Volume II - The Good Life

"The Sinatra Project Volume 2: The Good Life" finds Michael Feinstein following a different musical path in the legacy of Frank Sinatra. This "second time around," he delivers a batch of songs that pays tribute to those singers who were part of Sinatra's crowd of elite friends and counterparts in the music of the 1960s. Though there are still some amazing gems that Sinatra recorded included here, standards by singers such as Peggy Lee, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr. and others add most of the musical glow to this era in music. Arranger and musician, Bill Elliott provides the sleek big band sounds and also plays piano on eight of the 12 handpicked songs by Feinstein.

Offering a first impression of the talent and quality of Feinstein's voice is that it feels like he grew another set of "cahones." The quietly elegant and soft styles in many of his earlier works are gone... for the most part. Feinstein sounds brasher, rougher and quite passionate recording these songs.

The CD opens with "Thirteen Women." With lyrics such as "Thirteen women and me... the only man around," it would have been sensational for the openly gay Feinstein to switch it up to "Thirteen men and me, the lucky one around." That is not the case... artistic license would not permit it. "Camp" has its place, out of the recording studio. One outstanding double dose is the combination of songs in "Luck Be a Lady/All I Need is the Girl." It's a slam-dunk of "razzmatazz" with the brilliant arrangement of the two songs and Michael's exuberant and non-stop sexy delivery.

Even the softer and romantic side of "I'll Be Around" has a maturity of tone that exudes wisdom and a new huskiness to his voice, which seems to be even getting better, with the passing of time. It's a beautiful recording of an often forgotten song. Not all of "The Good Life" is musical perfection but what is? Yet, Michael Feinstein is bringing vibrant "life" to the material in his unique and inimitable way.

"The Sinatra Project Volume Two: The Good Life"

Concord Records

$16.39

Available now