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My Kind of Music

Mel Tormé

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Album Review

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.

Biography

Born: September 13, 1925 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Mel Tormé was a jazz-oriented pop singer who worked at his craft steadily from the '40s to the '90s, primarily in nightclubs and concert halls. In his 1988 autobiography, It Wasn't All Velvet (its title a reference to his nickname, "The Velvet Fog," bestowed upon him by a disc jockey in the '40s to describe his husky, wide-ranging voice), he mentioned a wish that he had been born ten years earlier, that is, in 1915 rather than 1925. If he had had his wish, Tormé would have been an exact contemporary...
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My Kind of Music, Mel Tormé
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