Mel Tormé

A&E Presents an Evening With Mel Tormé: Live From the Disney Institute

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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow

This was singer Mel Tormé's last recording before he was stricken with a serious stroke. Remarkably, Tormé had gradually improved both as a singer and as a jazz improviser all throughout his sixties (his voice was in phenomenal shape), and he is heard on this live set, filmed for a television special, in peak form despite being 70. Joined by his regular trio (pianist Mike Renzi, bassist John Leitham, and drummer Donny Osborne), Tormé performs a typical swing-oriented program that includes a Benny Goodman medley, a memorable rendition of "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" (he could hold notes on ballads endlessly without wavering), a heated "Pick Yourself Up," and a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald on "Oh, Lady Be Good," among other numbers. Ironically, Tormé concluded what may be his final recording with a touching rendition of "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye."

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