Steve March Tormé

Swingin' at the Blue Moon Bar & Grille

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Fair or unfair, Steve March Tormé is destined to be compared his late father Mel Tormé -- when your father was one of the top jazz-pop vocalists of the 20th century, comparisons are inevitable. Although the younger Tormé also works in the jazz/swing/standards field, he doesn't go out of his way to emulate his dad on this CD. Steve March Tormé is his own man, and he makes that clear on both original material and famous standards. Contrary to what its title says, this isn't a live album and wasn't recorded at a place called the Blue Moon Bar and Grill -- it's very much a studio effort, and the Blue Moon is a fictional venue that the artist invented when he co-wrote the title song. A generally competent, if unremarkable, outing, Blue Moon ranges from sensitive ballads to up-tempo, retro swing numbers. Torme shows an admirable sensitivity on the ballads (especially "September Song" and "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square"), while up-tempo originals like "Everybody's Doin' It," "L.A. Late @ Night," and the title song are catchy, if overly clichéd. Seemingly aimed at the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy/Cherry Poppin' Daddies crowd, these tunes resurrect every 1940s and 1950s swing cliché imaginable -- when Tormé increases the tempo, there's a strong possibility he's going to tell you all about those "swingin' cats" who really know how to "juke 'n' jive." Released in 1999, Swingin' at the Blue Moon Bar and Grill is the work of someone who still has some growing and developing to do. But the CD's plusses outweigh its minuses, and one can hear Tormé's potential.

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