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Live At the Maisonette

Mel Tormé

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Album Review

Recorded more than twelve years after his first live album on Atlantic, Mel Tormé's Live at the Maisonette shows the effects of time on an aging band singer, which isn't always a bad thing. A bit less bouncy and unhinged than at his 1962 Red Hill gig, Tormé is the consummate showman here, inaugurating his fourth season at the Maisonette Room of New York's St. Regis Hotel with a new band (Al Porcino's Orchestra), new arrangements (as usual, by Tormé himself), and a few surprises for the crowd. After jumping in with an up-tempo opener ("Jet Set"), he turns the lights down for "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life," cranks the tempo back up for "Mountain Greenery," and indulges in a familiar impersonation of Ella Fitzgerald for "Route 66." After taking a mere 15 minutes to spin through a 17-song (!) medley celebrating the 75th anniversary of George Gershwin's birth (again feting Fitzgerald in the process), Tormé delivers the big surprise of the set, a solid — yet slightly stodgy — version of Stevie Wonder's hit "Superstition."


Born: 13 September 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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Live At the Maisonette, Mel Tormé
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