Mel Tormé – Comin’ Home Baby (1962)

FrontCover1This brief compilation (it just barely creeps over 30 minutes in length) is way too short to do justice to this multi-talented artist. Aside from being a gifted jazz singer (he was forced to do a lot of pop material throughout his career to survive), Mel Tormé was also an actor, a solid songwriter, an arranger (he handled the chart arrangements for most of his recordings), a credible drummer, and a more than competent author, but it is as a singer that he will always be remembered. This set includes his only U.S. Top 40 single, the bluesy “Coming Home Baby” from 1962, and the Rodgers & Hart tune “Mountain Greenery,” which Tormé took into the Top Ten in the U.K. in 1956, but little else here could truthfully be called the best of Tormé. This set just doesn’t do him justice, even as an introduction. (by Steve Leggett)

Recorded July 11 – September 13, 1962, in Los Angeles

MelTormePersonnel:
Milt Bernhart (trombone)
Harry Betts (trombone)
Larry Bunker (drums)
Joe Burnett (trumpet)
Buddy Collette (woodwind)
Bob Cooper (woodwind)
Gene Estes (vibraphone)
Bill Hood (woodwind)
John Kitzmiller (tuba)
Ollie Mitchell (trumpet)
Joe Mondragon (bass)
Al Porcino (trumpet)
Bud Shank (woodwind)
Kenny Shroyer (trombone)
Ray Triscari (trumpet)
Mel Tormé (vocals, drums)
Mike Wofford (piano)
+
The Cookies (background vocals)

BackCover1Tracklist:
01. Comin’ Home Baby (Tucker/Dorough) 2.41
02. Dat Dere (Timmons/Brown Jr.) 2.56
03. The Lady’s In Love With You (Lane/Loesser) 2.57
04. Hi-Fly (Hendricks/Weston) 3.12
05. Puttin’ On The Ritz (Berlin) 3.23
06. Walkin’ (Carpenter) 2.55
07. Moanin’ (Timmons/Hendricks) 3.00
08. Sing You Sinners (Coslow/Harling) 2.24
09. Whisper Not (Golson/Feather) 2.47
10. On Green Dolphin Street (Kaper/Washington) 2.50
11. Sidney’s Soliloqui (Wisner) 2.26
12. Right Now (Sigman/Mann) 2.13

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Alternate frontcover from JapanAlternate frontcover from Japan

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Louis Armstrong & Friends – What A Wonderful Christmas (1997)

FrontCover1Although this Christmas compilation is credited to “Louis Armstrong & Friends,” it’s really more aptly categorized as a various artists anthology, since Armstrong only has six of the fourteen tracks. The disc is filled out with seasonal offerings by Dinah Washington, Mel Torme, Louis Jordan, Lionel Hampton, Peggy Lee, Eartha Kitt, and Lena Horne, Duke Ellington, mostly from the 1950s. It’s pleasant pop-jazz that doesn’t rate among the highlights of any of these talented artists’ careers. But it makes for an above-average Christmas disc, especially on Lionel Hampton’s “Merry Christmas, Baby,” Louis Armstrong’s “Cool Yule,” and Louis Jordan’s “May Everyday Be Christmas,” which celebrate the holiday with more gutsy hipness than the usual Yuletide fare. (by Richie Unterberger)

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Tracklist:
01. Louis Armstrong/Benny Carter Orchestra: Christmas In New Orleans (Sherman(/v.Winkle) 2.54
02. Louis Armstrong/Gordon Jenkins Orchestra: White Christmas (Berlin) 2.39
03. Dinah Washington: Silent Night (Gruber/More) 2.23
04. Mel Torme: The Christmas Song (Tormé/Wells) 3.07
05. Louis Armstrong/Benny Carter Orchestra: Christmas Time In Harlem (Scott/Paris) 2.39
06. Peggy Lee: It´s Christmas Time Again (Burke/Elliott/Harwood) 3.00
07. Louis Armstrong/The Commanders: Cool Yule (Allen) 2.55
08. Lionel Hampton: Merry Christmas, Baby (Moore/Baxter) 3.22
09. Louis Armstrong/The Commanders: ‘Zat You, Santa Claus? (Fox) 2.40
10. Eartha Kitt/Henri Rene Orchestra: Santa Baby (P.Springer/T.Springer/Javils) 3.26
11. Duke Ellington: JIngle Bells (Pierpont) 3.00
12. Lena Horne: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Coots/Gillespie) 2.43
13. Louis Jordan: May Everyday Be Christmas (Jordan) 3.11
14. Louis Armstrong/Gordon Jenkins Orchestra: Winter Wonderland (Bernard/Smith) 3.00

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Various Artists – Silent Night, Jazzy Night (2001)

FrontCover1It´s christmas time again … and I will start with some special recordings, christmas records, of course !

And I have a dream for this christmas, a very old dream, the dream of Martin Luther King:

“Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.

And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

MartinLutherKingI have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification” — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today!”

And this ist not an american dream only … I wish all readers of this blog a peaceful December 2013.

And listen carefully to some great Jazz interpretations of all these old christmas songs !

BookletBackCover1Tracklist:
01. Duke Ellington & His Orchestra: Jingle Bells (alternate version) (1962) (Traditional) 3.19
02. Leon Parker: In A Sentimental Mood (1996) (Ellington) 4.39
03. Nat King Cole: The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You) (1986) (Trome/Wells) 3.11
04. Johnnie Ray: As Time Goes By (1954) (Hupfeld) 3.14
05. Mahalia Jackson: Silent Night, Holy Night (1962) (Gruber/Mohr) 5.04
06. Miles Davis & Gil Evans: Blue Xmas (master) (Dorough) 2.40
07. Glenn Miller Orchestra: Moonlight Serenade (1960) (Miller/Parish) 3.39
08. Billie Holiday: God Bless The Child (1941) (Holiday/Herzog) 2.56
09. Grover Washington Jr:. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas (1997) (Martin/Blane) 4.53
10. Chet Baker: I Married An Angel (1954) (Hart/Rodgers) 3.39
11. The Manhattan Transfer: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town/ Santa Man (1991)(Gillespie/Coots/Paul) 3.01
12. Aretha Franklin: Winter Wonderland (1964) (Smith/Bernard) 2.12
13. Mel Tormé: Strangers In The Night (1966) (Kaempfert/Snyder/Singleton) 2.41

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