Expanding on the concept of Songs for Young Lovers!, In the Wee Small Hours was a collection of ballads arranged by Nelson Riddle. The first 12" album recorded by Sinatra, Wee Small Hours was more focused and concentrated than his two earlier concept records. It's a blue, melancholy album, built around a spare rhythm section featuring a rhythm ...
Expanding on the concept of Songs for Young Lovers!, In the Wee Small Hours was a collection of ballads arranged by Nelson Riddle. The first 12" album recorded by Sinatra, Wee Small Hours was more focused and concentrated than his two earlier concept records. It's a blue, melancholy album, built around a spare rhythm section featuring a rhythm guitar, celesta, and Bill Miller's piano, with gently aching strings added every once and a while. Within that melancholy mood is one of Sinatra's most jazz-oriented performances -- he restructures the melody and Miller's playing is bold throughout the record. Where Songs for Young Lovers! emphasized the romantic aspects of the songs, Sinatra sounds like a lonely, broken man on In the Wee Small Hours. Beginning with the newly written title song, the singer goes through a series of standards that are lonely and desolate. In many ways, the album is a personal reflection of the heartbreak of his doomed love affair with actress Ava Gardner, and the standards that he sings form their own story when collected together. Sinatra's voice had deepened and worn to the point where his delivery seems ravished and heartfelt, as if he were living the songs. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi
I recently heard "Wee Small Hours" again after many years, and was knocked out by it. For such a volatile man, Sinatra could express himself with great simplicity and tenderness, and he does here. After listening for the umpteenth evening in a row, I was vaguely reminded of something, and then realized it was the final stage of grieving a loss: acceptance.
Sep 21, 2011
Maybe this is not the Sinatra album you want to go to sleep with, but it is a great album to take time to reflect life and relationships. Once again, there is an array of great writers: Rodgers and Hart, Carmichael, Porter, Arlen and others. There is even a song, one of my very favorites, with some lyrics written by Frank himself, ?This Love Of Mine?. This is one I can hum, as well as sing along and enjoy all day or night.
Mar 18, 2010
It's a depressing collection of his work. I had high hopes for it but it just consistently disappointed me.
Apr 2, 2009
Different Enough To Be Required Listening
I bought this CD after hearing how different Frank Sinatra sounded on it on "Piana Jazz" on Public Radio. The most memorable comment was, "Whenever I begin listening to it, I end up listening to the whole thing." How true. Use of this format changed the music industry, and Frank was obviously using it to express his melancholy--apparently about his relationship with Eva Gardner. Then I bought several more CD's of Sinatra-sung tunes. What a genius!