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Great Contemporary Instrumental Hits

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Album Review

Ray Conniff & His Orchestra and Chorus returned to arrangements with wordless vocals on this rather generically titled 1971 collection, as the chirpy boys and girls filled in the mostly familiar melodies with ahhs, da-das, and do-dos while the band ran through slightly jazzed-up arrangements that owed a lot to the original hit recordings. The title was somewhat belied by the contents. True, recent big hits like Carole King's "It's Too Late" and two selections from Jesus Christ Superstar ("I Don't Know How to Love Him" and "Superstar") were included. But the choices ranged back to 1967's "Happy Together" and even further, such as 1964's "I Want to Hold Your Hand" (done as a delicate ballad) and "A Taste of Honey," hit versions of which dated back to 1962. (That was one of two songs, the other being "Tijuana Taxi," familiar from Herb Alpert's repertoire, and it didn't seem quite fair to be borrowing from another easy listening artist.) Then there was "Conniff's Dance of the Hours," which classical music buffs might have thought of as Ponchielli's and which pop fans would have recognized as the music for Allan Sherman's 1963 comic hit "Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh! (A Letter From Camp)." Oh, well, so it wasn't exactly all "great contemporary instrumental hits." It was performed with the usual verve associated with Conniff's troops.

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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Great Contemporary Instrumental Hits, Ray Conniff
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