Mel Tormé

It's a Blue World

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Mel Tormé had spent the first decade of his solo career being treated by record companies as a pop singer when Bethlehem offered to treat him as a jazz artist in 1955. The label requested that his first album be a collection of ballads, probably noting the recent success of Frank Sinatra's In the Wee Small Hours. But Tormé picked the songs, ranging from Jerome Kern and P.G. Wodehouse's "Till the Clouds Roll By" from 1917 to Duke Ellington and Paul Webster's "I've Got It Bad and That Ain't Good" from 1941. The 15-piece orchestra assembled by his accompanist Al Pellegrini backed the singer, and Pellegrini, Sandy Courage, Andre Previn, Marty Paich, and Russ Garcia wrote the arrangements Tormé sang with delicate precision, caressing the lyrics. Despite the album title, his interpretations had none of the darkness of Sinatra. Rather, Tormé invested the songs with warmth and confidence. Recorded and released around the time he turned 30, It's a Blue World marked a turning point in Mel Tormé's recording career.

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