At the Crescendo

Mel Tormé

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At the Crescendo Review

by Jason Ankeny

More than two years after recording his first-ever concert LP, Live at the Crescendo for Coral, Mel Tormé returned to the Los Angeles nightclub for the Bethlehem release At the Crescendo, cut February 22, 1957. Backed by a small combo comprised of pianist/arranger Marty Paich, trumpeter Don Fagerquist, vibraphonist Larry Bunker, bassist Max Bennett, and drummer Mel Lewis, Tormé approaches familiar material like "One for My Baby," "It's Only a Paper Moon," and "I'm Beginning to See the Light" with a matchless combination of sensitivity and sass -- as always, Paich's nimble arrangements inspire Tormé's most adventurous vocals, and the sheer imagination and soulfulness on display throughout the set laid to rest any lingering question of whether he was a jazz artist or merely an easy listening balladeer.

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