Here’s what some of the Jazz Critics are saying:
Tom Dreesen (who opened for Sinatra for 14 years), commenting on “Jim Altamore celebrates Sinatra live in France”: “One night after performing with Frank Sinatra in a 20,000 seat arena we were flying in his private jet back to Palm Springs. He had received yet another standing ovation that night and was still glowing as we talked about the thrill of performing in front of such appreciative audiences. He said “I don’t care if my name lives on but I do want the music to live on”. The music lives on superbly with Jim Altamore and this magnificent orchestra. Frank would be so pleased.”
Marc Myers – Wall Street Journal Contributor/JazzWax.com: While I’ve hissed and moaned about new singers’ over-use of the American Songbook, I must reel that in a bit. Jim Altamore’s License to Swing took me aback. Altamore has a saloony sense of swing and control — and even sports Sinatra’s timbre. Yet he never makes the mistake of becoming a Frank impersonator. Instead, Altamore is a completely natural singer and plenty comfortable in his own skin.
Jim is one of the finest singers who specializes in Frank Sinatra’s songbook. His new album, Jim Altamore Celebrates Sinatra (Live In France) features Jim live with Sinatra’s big band arrangements and warm tone.
Jerome Wilson – Cadence: Jim Altamore looks every inch the saloon singer on the back cover of “License to Swing,” wearing a tux with the top shirt button and bowtie undone and that is what he sounds like, doing songs associated with classic male night club singers like Sinatra and Darin. To his credit, the man has the voice for the job and doesn’t try to oversell his material, singing in a natural, flowing baritone that doesn’t imitate any of his predecessors.
Edward Blanco – eJazzNews: With the plethora of female vocalists dotting the jazz landscape these days, it’s nice and refreshing to hear a new and exciting male vocalist who can belt out a tune with the best of them. Let’s hope we’ll hear a lot more from Jim Altamore, maybe an encore to “License to Swing,” and next time perhaps fronting a big band, like the one Basie used to have.
Chris Spector – Midwest Record Review: JIM ALTAMORE/Celebrates Sinatra Live in France: Can you have enough Sinatra? Well, not when it’s done right. This cat swung so hard in the Sinatra mien without a trace of manqueing around that he got an invite to do his Sinatra thing in France with a big band bringing up the rear. Honing in on Capitol period Frank, before his timbre was weathered, that audience sounds like they are enjoying the real thing. On the money throughout and the next best thing to being there.
John Gilbert – Jazzreview: What a joy it is to receive an album that is true to the genre. This tribute to Bobby Darin and Frank Sinatra is definitely not an imitation, but there is enough inflection to make one smile in appreciation for the heartfelt love that is generated by this fine singer…. To get into the heart and soul of the listener is no easy task and Altamore and company certainly do this with natural proficiency. Swing is king here and I am certainly a member of the assembled court.
George Fendel, and Kyle O’Brien – Jazz Society of Oregon: It’s obvious that Jim Altamore is joined at the hip with Frank Sinatra. But what you’ve got to like about Altamore is that, while he communicates some of the legendary Sinatra hip-chic, he doesn’t try to lay Sinatra on you. With a tasty and swinging small group backing him, Altamore’s on target with “All of You,” “Nice ‘N’ Easy,” “Call Me Impossible,” “Learnin’ the Blues,” “Just One of Those Things” and more. Frank was king, but Altamore is one of his loyal subjects.
Grego Applegate Edwards – Gapplegate Music Review: Jim Altamore looks to Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Bobby Darin as the important forebears of the tradition he continues and forwards. His vocal style is strong, relaxed, and to me has the particular ring of Old Blue Eyes as much as the other two. There is an uncanny resemblance in the tone of his voice and the phrasing. But yet the other two are there as well, and his delivery is distinctive enough that one feels that one is hearing the genre anew through a different set of pipes.