My favorite album of 2017 has to be one that I’ve listening to the most, right? Well, that would be a really old recording: Frank Sinatra’s “Swinging Brass”. To describe why it’s a favorite would deprive any of you uninitiated of the experience of listening to this wonderful record. What really puts it over the top for me is a personal connection to the album, or actually the arranger and producer of the album. That man would be the late great Neal Hefti.
I was fortunate enough to have known the man, and had some wonderful conversations with him. Hefti was the head guy at Sinatra’s Reprise label, and if memory serves, this album was one of their first endeavors. I guess my favorite track on the record is “Don’t Cha Go Away Mad.” Check out the incredible syncopation of the instrumental break. This album accompanied me on long journeys across the desert — driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas — and every time I hear it I think of those desert views.