Mel Tormé

Mel's London Mood

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Mel Tormé is in great voice on these 1977 sessions, although the material chosen and the arrangements are a bit uneven. Although the veteran singer has the support of alto saxophonist Phil Woods, pianist Gordon Beck, and guitarist Vic Juris, the heavy-handed orchestrations on many of the numbers prove to be very distracting. The lackluster material includes forgettable pop songs of the day such as the nauseating "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," the bland "Stars," and the limpid "Ordinary Fool." Fortunately, Tormé's unusually upbeat chart of "Send in the Clowns" is a real swinger, and Billy Joel's bluesy "New York State of Mind" works pretty well until the orchestra joins in to bog things down. Woods' backing of Tormé during the introduction to the old favorite "Bye Bye Backbird" is superb, but once the orchestra joins them, it is reduced to pure syrup. An additional annoyance is the use of excessive reverb on Tormé's voice, which was totally unnecessary. This disc may still appeal to fans of Mel Tormé, although there are many better releases to purchase first. It was originally issued in 1977 by Gryphon as A New Album and also reissued in 1990 by DCC Jazz as The London Sessions.

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