Mel Tormé

In the Lounge With...

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It's always frustrating to witness an artist with the class and sophistication of Mel Tormé repackaged for little reason beyond kitsch and giggles, but peel away its smarmy, self-conscious presentation and In the Lounge with Mel Tormé is actually a delightful cross-section of the singer's hippest, most soulful performances, all etched with the candy-colored patina of the '60s mod culture. The swinging, vibrant arrangements perfectly complement Tormé's deep, rich vocals, though he approaches material like "Secret Agent Man," "If I Had a Hammer," and "Dominique's Discotheque" with tongue firmly in cheek. The artistry of songs like Burt Bacharach and Hal David's "Walk on By" clearly capture his imagination and result in heartfelt, vibrant performance. And there's no denying the Day-glo groove of the collection as a whole -- it's kitsch, sure, but it was assembled with a loving and judicious ear.

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