Shelly Manne

My Fair Lady with the Un-Original Cast

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This is a rather confusing LP. In 1956, drummer Shelly Manne recorded a best-selling album of songs from the play My Fair Lady in a trio with pianist Andre Previn and bassist Leroy Vinnegar. This 1964 project has nothing in common, for it features Manne's quintet, a larger ensemble (arranged by Johnny Williams) on some songs, and a few vocals by Jack Sheldon and Irene Kral. Probably a decision should have been made to have this be primarily a vocal album, since featuring singing on only six of the dozen selections gives the set an incomplete feel. Sheldon has three vocals, Kral takes two ("Wouldn't It Be Loverly" and "Show Me"), and they share "The Rain in Spain," but these were not necessarily the songs with the finest lyrics; "On the Street Where You Live" and "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" are among the numbers that are taken as instrumentals. Otherwise, the Manne quintet (with trumpeter Don Sleet, altoist Charlie Kennedy, pianist Russ Freeman, and bassist Monty Budwig) is well featured, with 13 horns added on some tunes. An interesting but not essential release.

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