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Concord has launched a series of reissues which pair similar albums recorded by an artist in a specially-priced 2-CD sets. Mel Torme recorded for Concord during the later period of his distinguished career, still in fine voice, and these two pairings with the Marty Paich Dek-tette make up this set. The first, Reunion, refers to the fact this session from 1988 is the first and only studio recording made by Mel and Marty since their collaborations in the 50s. Following the release of that recording, the ensemble briefly toured Japan, and the second album, In Concert Tokyo, was recorded in 1988 during that tour and released in 1989. Only three tunes overlap the two programs.
Many other famous singers were really pop singers with jazz sensibilities. These recordings provide definitive proof that Torme was truly a jazz singer. Just check out his scat solo on the opener, "Sweet Georgia Brown." His phrasing, interpretation, and all-out swinging on many other tunes throughout both programs offer further proof. Torme demonstrates that he's equally at home with big band swingers, ballads, Broadway showtunes, pop tunes, and bossa nova. Two interesting pieces on the program are "Walk Between the Raindrops" and "The Goodbye Look," both from Donald Fagen's classic album The Nightfly. Torme also adroitly tackles Chick Corea's "Spain," with Al Jarreau's lyrics ("I Can Recall"). While Torme's talents as a singer are obvious, he displays considerable talent as a drummer on the live version of Ellington's "Cotton Tail."
The other essential factor on this successful pair of recordings are the arrangements of Marty Paich. Students of arrangements have much to learn from studying these charts, and those of us who can appreciate a great arrangement have a lot to feast upon here. The arrangements make the dek-tette (which actually has eleven musicians) sound like a full-sized big band. A glance through the personnel list will turn up many famous names. (Concord CCD2-4928)
Track Listing: FromReunion: Sweet Georgia Brown; Walk Between the Raindrops; When You Wish Upon a Star/I'm Wishing; Bossa Nova Potpourri; The Trolley Song/Get Me to the Church on Time; More Than You Know; The Goodbye Look; The Blues; For Whom the Bell Tolls/Spain (I Can Recall). FromIn Concert Tokyo: It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing); Sweet Georgia Brown; Just in Time; When the Sun Comes Out; The Carioca; More Than You Know; Too Close for Comfort; The City; Bossa Nova Potpourri; On the Street Where You Live; Cotton Tail; The Christmas Song; It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing) Reprise. (43:47, 51:11)
Personnel: Mel Torme - vocals, drums; Marty Paich - conductor, arranger, DX-7 synthesizer; Pete Jolly, Allen Farnham - piano; Chuck Berghofer - bass; Jeff Hamilton, John Von Ohlen - drums; Warren Luening, Jack Sheldon - trumpet; Dan Barrett, Bob Enevoldsen, Lou McCreary - trombone; Gary Foster - alto saxophone; Ken Peplowski - tenor saxophone, clarinet; Bob Efford - baritone saxophone; Jim Self - tuba; Joe Porcaro, Efrain Toro - percussion.