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Like Gary Crosby and Frank Sinatra, Jr. and sons of celebrity singing fathers, it's virtually impossible for Steve March Tormé to avoid comparisons with his famous father, Mel Tormé. In the case of Steve, he has two eminent fathers. After his mother divorced Mel, she married Hal March, the emcee for the popular quiz show, the $64,000 question. As both Crosby and Sinatra, Jr. found out, it's a no win situation. Neither of them ever came close to reaching the pinnacle of success their fathers achieved. The only one who has come close is Natalie Cole. But maybe it's different when the offspring is a daughter where perhaps the expectations are unfortunately and unfairly not as high as they are for a son. Moreover, Natalie during the first years of her career stayed away from the romantic and novelty material her father was known for, moving into Rock and R & B. It wasn't until later in her career that she felt comfortable moving to singing the classic standards.
Judging from the play lists of his two albums, Tormé seems to be taking the same tack as Natalie Cole. Staying away from the famous ballads and swing tunes that his father was known for, Tormé uses a lot of material he wrote, especially on The Night I Fell for You. Also, much of what he sings has a retro swing base and Tormé can swing. But he is no slouch on ballads either as heard on such classic standards as "September Song" and "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square". Overall, there isn't much difference between the two albums, both released in 2000. I prefer "Swingin' at the Blue Moon Bar & Grille" for no other reason than Tormé's style and delivery seem better suited to a big band than a small group. The arrangements are also more interesting on the former album. Just listen to him and the band rock on "Everybody's Doin' It". This album is not a live performance. The title conveys atmosphere rather than recording location, which was a studio, not a local jazz venue.
Tormé happens to be an excellent athlete. He was one of 16 ballplayers chosen to represent the United States in fast pitch softball for the 12th Maccabiah Games in Tel Aviv, Israel. The team won a gold medal. That feat was repeated four years later at the 13th Maccabiah Games, as Tormé became the only undefeated pitcher in the games' history, picking up a second gold medal in the process.
The promo material for these albums hawk Tormé's ascension as the country's next great romantic singer. Perhaps down the road, but he's not there yet. Also, I should warn that if one is expecting to hear his father reincarnated, forget it. Steve's voice is much different. Through the marvels of technology, he duets with his father on "Straighten up and Fly Right" and you can easily tell who's who. These albums are recommended on the basis that son Tormé's work stands on its own. Visit Steve's web page at http:// stevemarchtorme.com. Also, the lyrics are reprinted in the liner notes.
Track Listing: Swingin' at the Blue Moon Bar & Grille; Straighten up and Fly Right*; Medley: Ridin' High/I'm Shootin' High; The Girl Next Door; Route 66; L. A. Late @ Night; Town without Pity; Everybody's Doin' It; September Song; Never, Never Land; Loser at Love; A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square Almost the Blues; The Late, Late Show; Skat Dat; You Move Me; The Night I Fell for You; Just You and Me; On the Street Where You Live; Woman as Wave; A Lotta Love for You; Ca C'est L'Amour; Melancholy Monday; Pocket Personality; Torch Song
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.