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The Essential Ray Conniff

Ray Conniff

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Album Review

There have been countless Ray Conniff collections over the years, with most of them covering the same familiar hits, but few of them have been as ambitious and comprehensive as Columbia/Legacy's double-disc 2004 release The Essential Ray Conniff. At 36 tracks, it's much larger than most CD-era Conniff comps, which tended to be budget-line releases like 16 Most Requested Songs, and it also covers more territory, opening with 1957's "S'Wonderful" and ending with a previously unreleased version of "My Way" from 1998. Between those two points, his biggest hits, including "Somewhere, My Love (Lara's Theme from Doctor Zhivago)," are covered, but as his daughter Tamara makes clear in her liner notes, unlike some Conniff collections, the focus here isn't on the charts. Instead, she has chosen a range of songs that convey the scope of his musical achievements, so it samples his work as a classical arranger, film composer, soft-pop arranger, and trombonist. The result is the best Conniff collection to date, since it's not only the only compilation that attempts to tackle his entire body of work, it succeeds in doing so.

Biography

Born: 06 November 1916 in Attleboro, MA

Genre: Pop

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

The man who popularized wordless vocal choruses and light orchestral accompaniment on a mix of popular standards and contemporary hits of the 1960s, Ray Conniff was a trombone player for Bunny Berigan's Orchestra and Bob Crosby's Bobcats before being hired as an arranger by Mitch Miller for Columbia Records in 1954. After he wrote the charts for several sizeable Columbia hits during the mid-'50s, Conniff became a solo artist as well, applying his arranging techniques to instrumental easy listening...
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The Essential Ray Conniff, Ray Conniff
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