Collector's Choice Music has released Jack Lemmon's two Epic releases from the 1950s onto a single CD. By coincidence released the week after Lemmon's death, Twist of Lemmon/Some Like It Hot is more than a novelty album. The new CD is a must-own for fans of the late, great actor. Lemmon developed a love for music around the same time he began acting, but his success in the latter forced the future Oscar winner to abandon his career as a professional musician. In the 1950s, after a string of Broadway musical hits, Jack Lemmon was invited to record a full-length album. The resulting Twist of Lemmon was initially going to be an album of piano songs, but as production began, Lemmon and producer Jack Sherman decided to record six instrumentals and six vocal tracks. Jack Lemmon chose songs for the record while on the set of It Should Happen to You with Judy Holiday. Eventually the actor ended up choosing only four instrumentals to go with eight vocal songs. The resulting LP is a much more commercial product than was first imagined. Though Lemmon's voice is solid, his piano playing was his strength. The 12 standards on Twist of Lemmon include Yip Harburg's "What Is There to Say," the Gershwins' "Bidin' My Time," Cole Porter's "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," and Harold Arlen's "Let's Fall in Love." Of note are "With All My Lov," which is a Jack Lemmon original, and "Lemmon Flavored Blues," written by arranger Marlon Evans. Twist of Lemmon is a serious album that is musically solid but of more interest as a window into the creativity of one of Hollywood's greats. The second half of the disc is the LP Sings and Plays Music From Some Like It Hot, which was released a few months after Jack Lemmon's debut album. If Lemmon was cautious with Twist of Lemmon, then he was confident and adventurous with his follow-up. Some Like It Hot starts with a swinging version of "Sweet Georgia Brown" and continues with a solid "Try a Little Tenderness," a fun "Down With the Sheltering Palms" (with a great piano solo), and smooth take on Hoagy Carmichael's "Georgia on My Mind." The standout on this album is Jack Lemmon's version of Marilyn Monroe's perennial "I Wanna Be Loved By You." Some Like It Hot is colored by the Roaring '20s, as was the film. Also like the Billy Wilder classic, Lemmon's performance of this material is hilarious and skillful. These two classic albums mix humor, romance, and, thankfully, a lot of vocals into a genre often too serious and weepy. Twist of Lemmon/Some Like It Hot is highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by JT Griffith