274

Mel Torme: Velvet Moods Featuring the Original California Suite

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Few mastered every aspect of jazz singing like Mel Tormé did, from scat singing to vocal groups to arranging and composing to just plain crooning the hell out of a tune. However, more people know of Tormé than actually have him in their collection, which is a shame for jazz fans since he is more jazz-oriented than those who group him with the easy listening crowd suspect. Velvet Moods is a good representation of what Tormé was up to, while also including some more obscure material that aficionados won't mind having. These recordings span 1946 to 1955.

The centerpiece of this collection is the eleven-part "California Suite for orchestra and chorus, which Tormé composed and arranged. No one is really making music like this anymore, and parts will recall the close knit harmonies of radio commercials. But overall it's a highly enjoyable collection of vocal music, tastefully arranged and catchy. While this may be Tormé's crowning achievement personally, the rest of the CD may hold more interest.

Along with a few tunes featuring the Mel-Tones and some evergreens like "Born to Be Blue and "Night and Day, surely the most interesting part of Velvet Moods are the tracks where Tormé is backed by the Red Norvo trio featuring Tal Farlow and Charles Mingus (surely the only time Mingus and Tormé performed together). This trio has long been a favorite of many a jazz fan, and the foursome seem inclined to pursue a more maverick approach and more daring material. And of course, what would be a Tormé set without "The Christmas Song?

It could be argued that Tormé has fallen out of fashion these days, but his records are quite a treat. As a sampler of all the aspects of Tormé's artistry, Velvet Moods is tough to beat.


Track Listing: That's Where I Came In; Born To Be Blue; Night and Day; Geometric Blues; The Carioca; I've Got A Felling I'm Falling; On A Little Street In Singapore; I Like To Recognize the Tune; I Love Each Move You Make; Heart and Soul; You're A Heavenly Thing; The night We Called it a Day; The Christmas Song; It's Easy To Remember; Bernie's Tune; Pola Dots and Moonbeams; The Original California Suite: Mountain Desert Theme; The Golden West; We Think the West Coast Is the Best Coast; Coney Island; The Miami Waltz; They Go to San Diego; Sunday Night in San Fernando; Got to the Gate on the Golden Gate; Prelude to "Poor Little Extra Girl"; Poor Little Extra Girl; We Think the West Coast is the Best Coast & Finale.

Personnel: Mel Torme: vocals, with various others including Sonny Burke and his Orchestra; Hal Mooney and his Orchestra; the Mel-Tones; Red Norvo: vibes; Tal Farlow: guitar; Charles Mingus: bass.

Title: Velvet Moods Featuring the Original California Suite | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Cherry Red Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004" CD/LP/Track Review Live in Sant’Anna Arresi, 2004
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 17, 2016
Read "Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere" CD/LP/Track Review Kinfolk: Postcards From Everywhere
by Mike Jacobs
Published: July 15, 2017
Read "Urban Soul" CD/LP/Track Review Urban Soul
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 20, 2017
Read "Live 1972" CD/LP/Track Review Live 1972
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 5, 2017
Read "The BBC Sessions Vol. 1" CD/LP/Track Review The BBC Sessions Vol. 1
by Rokas Kucinskas
Published: October 29, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.