- Lulu’s Back in Town
- Careless Hands
- Mountain Greenery
- Born to be Blue
- A Stranger in Town
- Bewitched , Bothered and Bewildered
- Fascinating Rhythm
- Puttin’ on the Ritz
- The Lady’s in Love with You
- Lullaby of Birdland
- 42nd Street
- Harlem Nocturne
- Sing You Sinners
- Comin’ Home Baby
- Right Now
- All That Jazz
- New York, New York
- It’s Delovely
- What are You Doing for the Rest of Your
- Gershwin Medley
- A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
- The Christmas Song
If I was rating this record
purely on value for money, it would get a
5* rating, if you add the musical content
it puts it in the ‘must have’ bracket.
Mel Torme was one of about
ten male vocalists, each of which had a unique
and highly individual style that made them
instantly recognisable. Frank Sinatra, Nat
Cole, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Matt Munroe,
like Mel Torme all had highly individual styles,
but they all had many things in common. Perfect
diction, you can hear all he words, immaculate
timing, good intonation and the ability to
make average songs sound like something special.
Unfortunately my review copy
of this record has no personnel information
whatever, but it is obvious that some of the
arrangements were written by Marty Paich.
Marty was a monster of the great Hollywood
film era, but he was also a great writer for
jazz outfits of all sizes. Much of the fabulous
Dave Pell Octet library was penned by him.
I have recently been playing
many of these arrangements with a band called
Jentle Jazz and they are a great pleasure
and a challenge to play.
Mel’s voice was sometimes
described as ‘the velvet fog’ and it is easy
to hear how this description came about, listening
to the tracks on the record. Each song is
delivered with the touch of the master song
craftsman, even though I feel sure that some
of them were not Mel’s choice!
Mel wrote over 300 songs,
but the one he will always be remembered for
is The Christmas Song, surely the greatest
Christmas Melody of all.
Mel had a long career starting
out as a child actor, he was born in 1925
and passed away in June of 1999.
During part of his career
he was also a drummer and a part-time arranger.
He started a trend for advanced vocal groups
with the Mel-Tones in 1944, the trend towards
very modern sounding vocal groups continued
with the Hi Los and Man-Tran, although he
was not involved with either.
As the record demonstrates,
in his early career he was in the hands of
agents who wanted to make of him another crooner,
but it was as a jazz singer that he excelled
and the latter part of his career was dedicated
to that role.
My own favourites are the
tracks where the backing is in the hands of
the Marty Paich Dektette, that really was
a superb match of singer, arranger and orchestra.
I enjoyed this reminder of a quality singing