Mel Tormé

Mel Tormé at the Red Hill

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Mel Tormé's first recording for Atlantic is his best, a devastating swing set recorded at the Red Hill in Pennsauken, New Jersey. It's clear from just a few bars that the ever-ebullient scatter/singer is in his element here, swinging live at an intimate jazz club before a knowing audience; he treats onlookers to glorious versions of his live standards "Mountain Greenery" and "It's Delovely," extending the latter by several verses with updated, modern lyrics. Always conscious of featuring his musicians too, Tormé allows room for solos from pianist Jimmy Wisner, and even grabs the piano himself for three songs (including both of the above). One caveat: taking nothing away from the original performance, his dynamic vocal range occasionally results in light distortion.

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