Mel Tormé

Mel Tormé with the Marty Paich Dek-tette

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The uptempo, swinging album that naturally followed It's a Blue World (Tormé's languorous debut for Bethlehem), Mel Tormé with the Marty Paich Dek-tette is a vocal masterpiece, an extremely satisfying record achieved only by a fusion of an excellent voice, an excellent band, and excellent material. Tormé had been inspired musically by the swinging West Coast cool group of Gerry Mulligan; accordingly, he made sure that his new musical arranger, Marty Paich, was of a similar mind. The two came up with the "Dek-tette," a group including no more than ten pieces and heavy on the stinging brass (including Pete Candoli and Don Fagerquist on trumpet, Bob Enevoldsen on trombone, and two French horns). The band is incredibly sympathetic and appears to hang on Tormé's every word. The material, as well, is pure gold: Tormé is as buoyant and exuberant as he's ever been, resulting in fantastic, definitive versions of inimitable standards like "Lullaby of Birdland," "Fascinating Rhythm," and "The Lady Is a Tramp." There are a few down-tempo numbers ("The Blues," "Keeping Myself for You"), but even on these Tormé sounds like he can't wait to get to the next song and really stretch out. [After its first release in 1956 as Mel Tormé with the Marty Paich Dek-tette, the album was reissued many times under various titles (Lulu's Back in Town, The Tormé Touch), but surprisingly never on CD. Rhino finally rectified the situation with the album's first CD release (as Lulu's Back in Town) in 1999.]

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