Frank Sinatra / American Badass 

Today is Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday.
 
With the possible exception of Louis Armstrong, no one artist influenced the rise of the recorded music era like Sinatra. He virtually defined the Great American Songbook, taking musical vignettes previously presented as mere pleasantries, and turning them into inhabitable worlds in which the listener could lose oneself.
 
It was a revolutionary artistic stance, rescuing pop music of the time from frivolous rumination or utilitarianism, and digging into the emotional heart of the lyrics at hand, illuminating as vividly in his chosen medium as Picasso or Kubrick or Faulkner did in theirs.
 
In a very real way, aesthetically, he paved the way for Elvis, Chuck Berry, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan. Hell, the line from Sinatra to Kurt Cobain, in terms of bringing three-dimensional relevance to a form previously thought of in cardboard-cutout standards, is not hard to draw.
 
And as cultural icons, he remains the most enduring.
 
The story goes that Frank and Miles Davis, who had never met, ran into each other at Jilly's, Sinatra's home-away-from-home when he was in New York City. Sinatra held an unabashed fondness for jazz men, and Davis had long admired Sinatra, telling his producer, when he recorded "Sketches of Spain", that he wanted his trumpet to sound like "Frank Sinatra's voice".
 
The two stood at the bar for over an hour, just the two of them, talking.
 
Creating a vortex of cool that damn near stopped time.
 
 
 
 
 
Brent Sanders 2015
 

 

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