A devout opera enthusiast, Robert Davi originally set out to be a singer and studied under three of the world’s finest vocal coaches: Samuel Margolis (the Metropolitan Opera), Danial Ferro (the Juilliard School of Music), and the noted Italian baritone Tito Gobbi. But before he had time to embark on his musical calling, Sinatra intervened. Davi appeared in Contract on Cherry Street, which launched his long, fruitful career as one of the most recognizable actors in history.
First, Davi chose gifted arranger Nic. tenBroek, who wrote the album’s sterling orchestrations. In addition to working with singers Nancy Wilson, Bobby McFerrin, and Les McCann, tenBroek wrote the original score for Davi’s directorial debut: the 2007 independent feature film The Dukes (starring Davi, Peter Bogdanovich and Chazz Palminteri). The film won writer/actor/producer/director Davi seven prestigious film awards, and clinched Davi and tenBroek’s deep friendship.
To ensure spotless production values, Davi then called on producer Phil Ramone: the Grammy-winning legend who helped Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett and dozens of other luminaries create their greatest hits.
Emmy-award-winning and Oscar-nominated recording engineer Dan Wallin captured expertly the vibrant sound unfolding inside Studio A at the landmark Capitol Records tower in Hollywood. Grammy-award-winning record producer Al Schmitt – who has also engineered sound on albums for such musical icons as Henry Mancini, George Benson, Steely Dan, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole and Diana Krall – added his unmatchable platinum touch to the “Davi Sings Sinatra: On the Road to Romance” production team.
Few accolades could surpass a songwriter’s endorsement of an artist’s interpretation of his or her work. Recently, Ervin Drake (who penned Sinatra’s autumnal masterpiece “It Was A Very Good Year”) attended a live performance of Davi Sings Sinatra. After the show, Drake took the time to write an unsolicited note to the singer. “Robert Davi would make a worthy successor to the incomparable Frank Sinatra, whether in the fields of stage, screen or television,” Drake said. “And having been chosen years ago by the master himself to act side-by-side in a film with him, this is not a vain pronouncement.”
Thankfully, Davi’s love for opera and the enduring tunes in The Great American Songbook never died. Nor did his relentless desire to make the transition from actor to actor-singer.
Three decades passed before Davi renewed his quest to sing, this time concentrating on the standards. He shared his ideas with music powerhouse Bob Cavallo (Chairman of Disney Music Group) who suggested that Davi consult Gary Catona, the “Voice Builder to the Stars.”
Having trained dozens of illustrious singers (Whitney Houston, Andrea Bocelli, Johnny Mathis, Usher, Seal, Toni Braxton, and Lionel Richie among them) Catona recognized the remarkable qualities in Davi’s voice, describing his tone as, “Rich, colorful and masculine.”
You can hear that colorful vocal richness on this album: it shines beautifully on exquisite ballads such as “All the Way,” “Here’s That Rainy Day,” “In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning,” and my personal favorite – “Mam’selle.” On these songs, we glimpse Davi’s classical training: his impressive range, intonation, and effortless phrasing.
Then, Davi’s playfulness on such up-beat Sinatra favorites as “Day In, Day Out,” “I’ve Got the World on A String,” “Witchcraft” and “Too Marvelous for Word” is infectious, proving that like Sinatra, he’s got the chops to swing!
The opulent sound of this album – the depth of Davi’s voice, and the clarity of every instrument – is no accident. To attain the highest fidelity, Davi sought the finest talent in the industry, old friends – and new.