The Best of the Popular Piano Concertos

George Greeley

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The Best of the Popular Piano Concertos Review

by Lindsay Planer

Before going solo, George Greeley's (piano/arranger) luminous career included work with Tommy Dorsey -- who incidentally hired both Greeley and a then-unknown Frank Sinatra on the same day -- as well as an arranger for film and a variety of vocalists. His series of lushly orchestrated platters made Greeley a recognizable artist prior to the reinvention of pop music and the subsequent invasion of teen-oriented rock. Best of the Popular Piano Concertos presents 11 selections taken from Greeley's half-dozen long-players for Warner Brothers Records. The oft overly-dramatic scores are gilded with Greeley's own piano leads, sounding similar to that of Ferrante & Teicher or Peter Nero. The stylistically varied nature of his output is mirrored by this eclectic blend, ranging from traditional pop standards and show tunes such as "Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing," "Three Coins in a Fountain" and "An Affair to Remember" to the Hawaiian love ballad "Aloha-Oe" and the beautifully bombastic "Hawaii War Chant." While a majority of the elucidations are unmistakably products of their era, "Moonlight Sonata" and the "Love Music" theme adapted from Richard Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde remain timeless. This undoubtedly has as much to do with the strength of the material as it does with the interpretation. However, Greeley's emphatic keyboarding and the brawny backing of the ad-hoc Warner Bros. Orchestra provide an almost larger-than-life quality that suits them.

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