Mel Tormé

Cocktail Hour

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Torme's performances are superb, but this two-disc compilation has no track information whatsoever -- no composer or musician credits, no session dates, nothing. The package is part of a generic Allegro series; other "cocktail hour" discs feature the likes of Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and Dinah Shore, with uniformly ugly cover art. So this is anything but a classic Torme title, although many of the individual tracks are classics. The recordings are clearly old -- probably from the '40s or '50s -- although the sound is quite good. A handful of tracks feature background vocalists singing close harmonies, but Torme is alone in the spotlight for the most part. There's a glockenspiel or celeste on quite a few songs, which becomes irritating, but there are some excellent clarinet and guitar performances -- uncredited, of course. Torme's scat vocal on "Night and Day" is not to be missed. For a quick and easy sampling of Torme's style, this compilation will suffice, but serious fans would do better to seek out the original recordings.

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