|Live In Paris is Frank Sinatra’s definitive concert album. Yes, there are many good ones—Sinatra at the Sands is also among the finest—but none better captures the essence of the singer’s voice, showmanship, and command than this 1962 session, which remained unreleased until 1994. Backed only by a jazz sextet, the main focus here is on Sinatra’s peerless singing, phrasing, and style. Needless to say, the iconic crooner doesn’t disappoint.
It’s impossible to overstate the magnificence of the interpretations on this set. Looking for the ultimate renditions of “My Funny Valentine,” “In the Still of the Night,” “One for My Baby,” “Night and Day,” and “Ol’ Man River”? Search no more. Sinatra’s readings of these classics exceed his superb studio versions, as well as those that appear on other live albums. And consider the setlist: “The Lady is a Tramp,” “Come Fly With Me,” “Chicago,” “I Could Have Danced All Night.” Superb. And Sinatra is simply “on,” bringing a combination of swinging enthusiasm, reverent charm, and dignified emotion to standards. He triumphs with a powerful voice yet affected by the ravages of time and cigarettes.
Fans of Sinatra at the Sands should take note. Sinatra in Paris is much more intimate, with the scaled-down arrangements and small band allowing songs to bask in the glory of Ol’ Blue Eyes’ voice. Yes, Sinatra’s period onstage comments can seem crude. But they take nothing away from the sheer superiority of this recording.
Ever since its release, the lone drawback to Sinatra in Paris has been that of the inferior sound quality. Lament the shortcoming no more. Half-speed mastered from the original tapes and pressed onto two slabs of quiet 180-gram vinyl, Mobile Fidelity’s numbered limited-edition 2-LP set lifts the veil on the music and allows it to soar with a richness, texture, openness, and presence that have until now gone missing. You will swoon over the improvements.