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CD/LP/Track Review

Mel Torme: The Best Of The Concord Years

By Published: December 1, 1999
Mel Tormé sang "You’re Driving Me Crazy" at the Blackhawk Club in Chicago when he was only four years old. Many years later, as a Musicraft 78-rpm single, it marked the beginning of his solo ballad career. This 2-CD compilation includes a stirring performance of the same song made in August 1990 at the Concord Pavilion. The Velvet Fog could caress a melody. He could also massage it, turn it upside down, fast-forward the bridge, and introduce his accompanists clearly as the lyrics ricocheted around a concert hall. Tormé would mix Johann Sebastian Bach or Frederick Delius into a set comfortably without hesitation. From previously issued Concord albums, this retrospective includes a variety of songs that Tormé recorded between April 1982 and July 1996. Sadly, the singer suffered a stroke August 8, 1996 and passed away last June.

Mel Tormé could always capture and hold your interest when he teamed with pianist George Shearing. Their 1982 performance of "Lullaby of Birdland" opens with Shearing singing the tune several times over in slow dramatic fashion. They then turn up the heat as Tormé rips into one of his spontaneous adventures. From a bossa nova arrangement of "The Carioca" to an oozing "Stardust" the singer is presented from all angles. Presenting his vocal technique as if he were an additional band instrumentalist, Tormé scat sings and trades fours with tenor saxophonist Frank Wess on "Sent For You Yesterday and Here You Come Today." Highly recommended, Concord’s compilation has the singer in good company with the spotlight on his remarkable career.


Track Listing: Hi-Fly; Born to be Blue; Lullaby of Birdland; Stardust; Love is Just Around the Corner; This Time the Dream

Personnel: Mel Torme- vocal; George Shearing, John Campbell, John Colianni, Mike Renzi- piano; Don Thompson, Brian Torff, Neil Swainson, Bob Maize, John Leitham- bass; Donny Osborne- drums; Ken Peplowski- clarinet; Peter Appleyard- vibraphone; Howard Alden- guitar; John Dankworth orchestra; John Dankworth- soprano sax, alto sax, clarinet; Cleo Laine- vocals; Ray Loeckle- tenor sax, flute, bass clarinet; Larry Koonse- guitar; The Frank Wess Orchestra; Frank Wess- tenor saxophone; The Frank Wess-Harry Edison Orchestra; Harry Edison- trumpet; Rob McConnell and The Boss Brass; Rob McConnell- trombone; The Marty Paich Dek-Tettes of 1988: Marty Paich- arranger & conductor, Gary Foster- alto saxophone, Ken Peplowski- tenor saxophone, Bob Efford- baritone saxophone, Jack Sheldon- trumpet, Warren Luening- trumpet, Bob Enevoldsen- valve trombone, Lew McCreary- trombone, Dan Barrett- trombone, Jim Self- tuba, Pete Jolly- piano, Allen Farnham- piano, Chuck Berghofer- bass, Jeff Hamilton- drums, John Von Ohlen- drums, Mel Torm

Record Label: Concord Music Group

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream



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