Mel Lewis on Sinatra/Ellington’s “Follow Me”

SKF NOTE: The Frank Sinatra/Duke Ellington album, Francis A. & Edward K., is one of my all-time favorites. And, of course, it’s fun and instructive listening to Mel Lewis‘s thoughts on the song, Follow Me.

sinatra_ellingtonMel Lewis: That, of course, was Sinatra, and I’m positive it was with Duke Ellington, although I don’t think the writing was by Duke, but the sound of the fellows comes through, that’s for sure. Anybody can write for Duke’s band, and you’ll still know it’s Duke’s band.

It seemed to me, from the vocal standpoint, that the tempo should have been a little faster. But for the chart itself, the arrangement, it was beautiful. It was just that as a singer, Sinatra would have come off better at a brighter tempo — but the arrangement wouldn’t have. So being the kind of singer he is, he probably thought, “I’ll sing it wherever it’s going to lay best for the band.” So he gets five stars for those thoughts. And Duke’s band, as everyone else who’s ever taken a Blindfold Test has always said, it’s five stars no matter what.

Source: Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Blindfold Test, by Leonard Feather. Down Beat, September 5, 1968

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