Like many of the entries in Columbia/Legacy's The Essence Of series, The Essence of Jerry Vale comes close to capturing...well, the essence of Jerry Vale, but falls short in many important ways. For instance, the 12-track budget-line collection only features two big hits -- "Innamorata (Sweetheart)" -- with the rest of the disc being devoted to familiar tunes other singers made famous: "Somewhere," "Sunrise, Sunset," "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing," "What a Wonderful World," "Stardust," That's not to say that it's a bad collection or that Vale does poor versions of these songs. On the contrary, he sings very well on each song, and it does contain some great moments that don't always show up on CD compilations, such as "La Vie En Rose" and "Somewhere," which makes it somewhat valuable for collectors. However, any listener looking for a hits package or an introduction to Vale should realize that Legacy's Greatest Hits is where to turn, not The Essence Of.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine