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Jazz - Released January 1, 2014 | Verve Reissues

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Though the nominal concept for Mel Tormé's Swings Shubert Alley is Broadway standards, this last moment of pure Tormé brilliance moves much too fast and hard for the concept to be anything but pure swing. Of course it starts out with a bang with the punchy "Too Close for Comfort." Tormé sounds like he's racing the band to the finish of the song on this one (and a few others, like "Too Darn Hot" and "Surrey with the Fringe on Top"), on the latter he repeats the title over and over again with that exuberant voice. As with his other classic swing albums, Tormé does insert a few slower songs; here, "Once in Love with Amy," "A Sleepin' Bee" and "Old Devil Moon" are downtempo, with a smile. The overall mood, however, is unrestrained enthusiasm, and it makes for an excellent record. ~ John Bush

Jazz - Released January 28, 2014 | Bethlehem Records

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Jazz - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

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Crooners - Released July 13, 1993 | Legacy - Columbia

16 Most Requested Songs is a midline-priced collection that spotlights Mel Tormé's work during his short stint with Columbia Records, including "P.S. I Love You," "The Second Time Around," "The Nearness of You," "My Romance," "I've Got You Under My Skin," "That's All," "Everyday's a Holiday," "Strangers in the Night," and "The Christmas Song." Although it's far from a perfect retrospective of his career, it's still a nice sampler of familiar items (including material from his elegant ballads collection That's All), and it may satisfy the needs of some casual fans who only want to hear a glimpse of what made Tormé's work special. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1998 | Verve

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1958 | Verve

Most of Mel Tormé's albums for Verve and Bethlehem during the 1950s concentrated on material either carefree (usually up-tempo) or reflective (mostly down-tempo), but 1958's Tormé blended the two. For every bouncy single like "That Old Feeling" or "I'm Gonna Laugh You Out of My Life," Tormé sinks into the depths with "Gloomy Sunday," "The House Is Haunted (By the Echo of Your Last Goodbye)," or his dramatic eight-minute reading of "Blues in the Night." All this makes for a bit of emotional confusion while listening to Tormé, but the LP pulls together for the most part. ~ John Bush
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Pop - Released January 1, 1969 | Capitol Records

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Pop - Released January 1, 1970 | Capitol Records

Lounge - Released September 24, 2015 | Rarity Music

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Jazz - Released August 27, 2013 | Bethlehem Records

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Ambient/New Age - Released January 1, 1992 | Concord Records, Inc.

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1988 | Concord Records

Pop - Released August 8, 2017 | Rarity Music

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If Verve needed a concept for Mel Tormé's last album on the label, there were certainly a few available. For one thing, My Kind of Music features five of Tormé's own songs, including chestnuts like "The Christmas Song," "A Stranger in Town," and "County Fair," as well as lesser-knowns like "Welcome to the Club." The other half-dozen compositions are by the underrated songwriting team of Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz, creators of the '50s Broadway hit The Bandwagon. Though they're rarely spoken of in the same breath as Rodgers & Hammerstein or Lerner & Loewe -- could it have anything to do with the lack of smoothness in pronouncing their names? -- Dietz and Schwartz wrote many standards, including "You and the Night and the Music," "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan," "Dancing in the Dark," and "By Myself." Also, My Kind of Music was the second LP Tormé recorded in Britain, the home of his most devoted audiences. The mellow arrangements -- by Brits Wally Stott, Geoff Love, and Tony Osborne -- wrapped Tormé in soft strings, but also allowed for many individual voices, including guitar and trumpet. It's a style of arranging that perfectly suited Tormé's growing inclination toward breezy, contemplative adult-pop during the '60s. And Stott's arrangement for the musically varied six-minute showtune "County Fair" captured a quintessentially American musical composition with flair. Call it whatever you want -- Tormé Sings Tormé, Tormé Sings Dietz & Schwartz, Tormé in London -- but My Kind of Music is a solid album that only suffers in comparison to his masterpieces of the previous few years. ~ John Bush

Vocal Jazz - Released January 28, 2014 | Bethlehem Records

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Vocal Jazz - Released October 27, 1962 | Verve Records

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Vocal Jazz - Released January 1, 1982 | Concord Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 1959 | Verve

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Jazz - Released February 5, 2018 | Bethlehem Records

More than two years after recording his first-ever concert LP, Live at the Crescendo for Coral, Mel Tormé returned to the Los Angeles nightclub for the Bethlehem release At the Crescendo, cut February 22, 1957. Backed by a small combo comprised of pianist/arranger Marty Paich, trumpeter Don Fagerquist, vibraphonist Larry Bunker, bassist Max Bennett, and drummer Mel Lewis, Tormé approaches familiar material like "One for My Baby," "It's Only a Paper Moon," and "I'm Beginning to See the Light" with a matchless combination of sensitivity and sass -- as always, Paich's nimble arrangements inspire Tormé's most adventurous vocals, and the sheer imagination and soulfulness on display throughout the set laid to rest any lingering question of whether he was a jazz artist or merely an easy listening balladeer. ~ Jason Ankeny

Vocal Jazz - Released September 30, 2014 | Bethlehem Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2005 | Concord Records