Frank Sinatra, Come Fly With Me

Will Friedwald

By Will Friedwald

on 05.18.11 in Reviews

Come Fly With Me

Frank Sinatra
Songs about travel, sung by a master

With the distinctive Taxi-Down-the-Runway intro on the opening song, the next great musical relationship of Sinatra's career — with the extravagantly swinging orchestrator Billy May — got off the ground. This masterful 1958 set was pegged to a concept that was more programmatic than musical; in fact, the idea of a collection of songs about travel and far-flung international locales was already old hat by 1958. Yet Sinatra and May make it fresh and exciting. Come Fly with Me is mainly remembered for its ecstatic uptempos, like the opener (commissioned by the singer from his personal "in-house" songwriters, Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen) and the gloriously irreverent, ring-a-ding-ding treatment of Rudyard Kipling's "Mandalay" that closes the album. Yet May was no less brilliant at working with Sinatra on stunningly beautiful ballads, like the waltz "Around the World," and his amazingly introspective, descriptive reading of "Moonlight in Vermont," which soon became an all-time Sinatra classic that he would reprise in concert thousands of times.