Columbia released “The Voice” in 1955, after Frank Sinatra recorded singles from 1944 to 1950. Axel Stordahl, a wonderful friend and collaborator, joins the singer and overflowing arrangements using strings while being bold with emotional content.
Stordahl is credited for cultivating pop music arrangement to the recording industry in the modern age. He started out as a trumpeter in jazz bands and joined the Tommy Dorsey orchestra. He soon became the band’s arranger, and it was at this time that his arrangements obviously fit Sinatra’s voice so eloquently.
Collaboration began and Sinatra recorded at least four hundred sides for Columbia. Three-quarters of those recordings were arranged by Stordahl. He was admired by his peers for his skills in surrounding Sinatra’s voice with soft, opulent sound with swirling strings, understated rhythms and woodwinds. He was probably one of the first American arrangers to tailor his work to the vocal qualities of a specific singer. Stordahl worked with the best singers of the industry — Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Doris Day and Dinah Shore to name a few.
In “The Voice,” Stordahl conducts his material in a striking tone while Sinatra uses his voice like an instrument offering various textures to his voice. Listeners will be awed at how Sinatra’s voice can be overpowering, particularly in this early work. Just listening to this album, you become cognitive of Sinatra’s enormous influence when he was introduced to the public at large.
The long-playing technique captures Sinatra’s at his first stage of his solo singing career. Sinatra’s sings ballads, a total of twelve classics, all dazzling in his lush, intense cadence with a hint of delicate and whimsical voice.
“Laura” is a fine example of lush, intense voice work while being ever so gentle in a seductive way. “(I Got a Woman Crazy for Me) She’s Funny That Way,” showcases a deep and encompassing emotional reach, making this song the hottest part of the recording. Sinatra shows a soft even if haughty confident kind of manliness, all of it toned down by Axel Stordahl’s arrangements.
Sinatra’s career lasted for decades and his early work like “The Voice” reminds us how Sinatra could charge up his audience. The album was a huge seller and its success stayed known throughout Columbia’s years. It became one of the earliest reissues selected for Sony Music’s Mastersound CD series in the early 1990s with deluxe and gold packaging.