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The Astaire Story, Vols. 1 & 2

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Album Review

Because he was world renowned as a dancer and quite popular as a movie actor, Fred Astaire has tended to be underrated (if not completely overlooked) as a jazz singer. Although not really an improviser, Astaire's phrasing always swung and his occasional vocals on record were usually a joy. This two-CD set is something special for it features Astaire with six members of Jazz at the Philharmonic: tenor saxophonist Flip Phillips, trumpeter Charlie Shavers, pianist Oscar Peterson, guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Alvin Stoller. Astaire sings 34 swing standards (many of which he had originally introduced in movies), dances on three ad-lib numbers, and sits out on the instrumental "Jam Session"; the musicians have plenty of opportunities to stretch out. The biggest surprise to this classic deluxe box (which was originally four-LPs) is that Fred Astaire did not do similar projects more often throughout his career. Highly recommended.

Customer Reviews

Great Collection

I'm a huge Astaire fan, and if you've seen his movies, this two disc set will bring back all the great moments. The songs, his voice, the band.. all totally charming. If you're into music, this is a great collection to have.

Great music, great price

These are nice, mellow arrangements. Not the movie versions. Fred Astaire's signing and phrasing are so understated, but his sense of humor and fun come through loud and clear. Because he was so low key, this music hardly sounds dated at all. The production is wonderful, the musicians take a low-key approach, but there are lots of nice solos, and they blend well with the signing. Wonderful songs done in a nice jazz treatment with a world-class singer. They will make you smile. This is the same as the 2-CD import Oscar Peterson & Fred Astaire, but the latter has a couple more instrumentals.

Wrong Genre listing. THIS IS JAZZ !

Yes, he sings on almost every number. And he only taps for one. But when compared to what passes for 'jazz' these days: This isn't your typical 'vocal' fare. If you must only get one song, buy 'Cheek to Cheek' (#10). After listening to it, you'll likely need to get more. Then, you'll want it all ! I can't recommend these recordings enough. JUST LISTEN to it !


Genre: Musicals

Dancer, actor, and singer Fred Astaire worked steadily in various entertainment media during nine decades of the 20th century. The most celebrated dancer in the history of film, with appearances in 31 movie musicals between 1933 and 1968 (and a special Academy Award in recognition of his accomplishments in them), Astaire also danced on-stage and on television (garnering two Emmy Awards in the process), and he even treated listening audiences to his accomplished tap dancing on records and on his own...
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The Astaire Story, Vols. 1 & 2, Fred Astaire
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