Mel Tormé

My Kind of Music

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If Verve needed a concept for Mel Tormé's last album on the label, there were certainly a few available. For one thing, My Kind of Music features five of Tormé's own songs, including chestnuts like "The Christmas Song," "A Stranger in Town," and "County Fair," as well as lesser-knowns like "Welcome to the Club." The other half-dozen compositions are by the underrated songwriting team of Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz, creators of the '50s Broadway hit The Bandwagon. Though they're rarely spoken of in the same breath as Rodgers & Hammerstein or Lerner & Loewe -- could it have anything to do with the lack of smoothness in pronouncing their names? -- Dietz and Schwartz wrote many standards, including "You and the Night and the Music," "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan," "Dancing in the Dark," and "By Myself." Also, My Kind of Music was the second LP Tormé recorded in Britain, the home of his most devoted audiences. The mellow arrangements -- by Brits Wally Stott, Geoff Love, and Tony Osborne -- wrapped Tormé in soft strings, but also allowed for many individual voices, including guitar and trumpet. It's a style of arranging that perfectly suited Tormé's growing inclination toward breezy, contemplative adult-pop during the '60s. And Stott's arrangement for the musically varied six-minute showtune "County Fair" captured a quintessentially American musical composition with flair. Call it whatever you want -- Tormé Sings Tormé, Tormé Sings Dietz & Schwartz, Tormé in London -- but My Kind of Music is a solid album that only suffers in comparison to his masterpieces of the previous few years.

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