Bobby Troup

Bobby Troup and His Stars of Jazz

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During the latter half of the 1950s, Bobby Troup hosted a well-received television program for ABC titled The Stars of Jazz. This album actually isn't a soundtrack album collecting the best segments from the show (which spotlighted all forms of jazz, past and present); instead, Troup went into the studio with a crack team of West Coast jazz musicians for a "West Coast meets Swing" big band session. Jimmy Rowles took over for Troup on piano, and penned eight of the lightly swinging arrangements. Shorty Rogers wrote the other four charts, and joined such soloist as Benny Carter, Shelly Manne, Bud Shank, Red Norvo, and Barney Kessel. Troup was never known as a great singer, but this may be his best outing as a vocalist, and the session could be confused with one by Harry Connick, Jr., if not by Frank Sinatra. Troup had a "musician's voice," but his lightly swinging and low-key approach works perfectly on this outing, and he really had a way with a lyric. This album session of Stars of Jazz may be hard-to-find, but it's definitely worth owning, and offers a great portrait of a time when jazz was popular entertainment, even if Bobby Troup's actual The Stars of Jazz TV show program deserves to be more widely available.

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