I'm sure anyone old enough to remember the ‘60's will no doubt remember that old tube (or possibly transistor) radio that dad had on the kitchen counter top, tuned to a station playing what was called the beautiful music
. The music that poured forth from that tiny three-inch speaker was the highly orchestrated and skillfully arranged big band renditions of popular songs. What you probably didn't realize at the time was that, as dad was making that fresh pot of coffee, or washing those dishes in the kitchen sink, he was more than likely listening to the lavish, colorful, and swinging arrangements of Nelson Riddle
. And that was okay, because you were listening to him too, as you tuned into TV land each week to watch Batman
battle the rogue villains of Gotham City
, and your older sister was listening to him as well, as she watched the popular program Route 66
. Route 66
is once again open to all vestibular traffic, thanks to this new release on the Telarc label by Erich Kunzel
and the Cincinnati Pops "Big Band"Orchestra
. Entitled Route 66/That Nelson Riddle Sound
, this CD is an inspired and swinging tribute to this master of orchestration whose tailored arrangements for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland
, and Johnny Mathis
., made Riddle a much in demand arranger/composer in radio, television and movies throughout much of the ‘50's and ‘60's. Kunzel, who has been affiliated with the Cincinnati Pops since 1965, has been the most successful crossover arranger and conductor of the last 25 years, contributing his talents to over thirty discs for the Telarc label alone.
On this disc, Kunzel recreates the trademark Nelson Riddle sound by utilizing some of the most talented soloists in jazz, including Ken Peplowski, Jim Pugh,
and Randy Sandke
. Orchestrations were taken from the original Nelson Riddle arrangements; the delicate balance between brass and woodwinds, the slightly understated backdrop which pushed along the soloist without overwhelming him, the accentuating syncopation of swing throughout. These are the signatures of Nelson Riddle, faithfully carried forth by Kunzel and orchestra. Some of the songs on this disc, namely "Night and Day", "The Lady Is A Tramp", "Nice 'n' Easy", and "What's New", recall Riddle's collaboration with Frank Sinatra. There are also two Irving Berlin
songs, and of course, the title tune Route 66
, which Riddle composed himself for the TV show of the same name.
The music on this disc harks back to an era when America was experiencing an unprecedented level of creativity, ingenuity, and originality in art, popular culture, and technology. Nelson Riddle is a contributor to that era, and Erich Kunzel sustains that contribution by giving us robust, vibrant music that simply makes you feel good about yourself, and the world around you....especially on those days when you get stuck doing the dishes.