274

Mel Torme: Velvet Moods Featuring the Original California Suite

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Mel Torme: Velvet Moods Featuring the Original California Suite 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.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Cherry Red Records | Style: Vocal


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Michael Shrieve's Spellbinder" CD/LP/Track Review Michael Shrieve's Spellbinder
by Doug Collette
Published: August 17, 2016
Read "Amiira" CD/LP/Track Review Amiira
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2016
Read "Sunday Night At The Vanguard" CD/LP/Track Review Sunday Night At The Vanguard
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 18, 2016
Read "Beekman Vol. 02" CD/LP/Track Review Beekman Vol. 02
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "King Of Xhosa" CD/LP/Track Review King Of Xhosa
by James Nadal
Published: January 23, 2017
Read "Everything's Beautiful" CD/LP/Track Review Everything's Beautiful
by Asher Wolf
Published: July 18, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!