Mal Waldron was Billie Holiday’s chief accompanist the last three years of her life. They co-wrote “Left Alone” together. This LP is in a trio format except for this cut, where Waldron is joined by Jackie McLean, who imbues the title track with his singular emotional intensity, borrowing a page right out of Lady Day’s book.
Record Label: London American Recordings (HL - N8305)
Released: August 1956
Location: Le Temps Perdu
You’ll hear this fast-paced song playing at the Le Temps Perdu bar on High Street. The customers reservedly chatter on how much better life is. A waiter teleports around tending to customers.He makes an off-hand remark about how all these rich folks can even get out of bed in the morning.
Originally written for the 1935 Broadway musical, Babes in Arms, this song became a popular standard sung many including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Shirley Bassey, and Buddy Greco. Perhaps most memorable is the duet by Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett.
The lyrics fit well in Rapture, describing a scenario where a woman is not interested in fitting into high society with its strict etiquette, but prefers to do things that she enjoys.
Mel Tormé sings the oft-omitted introduction which is unfortunately truncated in-game in order to get it to play on a loop.
As you may have noticed, this record single was from one of Mel Tormé’s first albums Mel Tormé with the Marty Paich Dek-Tette (Bethlehem Records BCP 52). The cover art features his face and early trademark pompadour hair curl formed out of automobiles.
The track listing is as follows:
Lulu’s Back in Town
When the Sun Comes Out
I Love to Watch the Moonlight
The Lady is a Tramp
I Like to Recognize the Tune
Keeping Myself for You
Lullaby of Birdland
When April Comes Again
Sing For Your Supper
The songs are fairly fast-paced and a trademark of cool jazz.
The London Records pressing was used by the British branch of Decca Records to cater to providing 78 rpm versions of American labels in the UK.
Mel Tormé is best known as a singer and writer of jazz standards as well as a film and radio actor.
His career in music started at the age of 13 when he published “Lament to Love” famously covered by Harry James. Mel Tormé would also play drums in high school and would eventually perform with Benny Goodman.
He debuted with Frank Sinatra in their first film (Sinatra’s second), the musical Higher and Higher, where his good looks lent him the status of a teen idol.
He would go on to form the vocal quintet “Mel Tormé and his Mel-Tones” which would pioneer jazz amongst vocal groups.
His smooth vocal style led to his nickname “The Velvet Fog”, though he hated it, calling it “The Velvet Frog”. His hits included “Careless Hands”, “Again”, and “Blue Moon”.
Though he wrote over 250 compositions during his life, he is perhaps best known for composing and co-writing “The Christmas Song”
Marty Paich was one of the top jazz and pop arrangers of the 50s. He was able to create settings that best showcased a vocalist’s talents. He famously worked with Mel Tormé over a series of albums featuring his “Dek-tette”. This particular albums featured a broad spectrum of songs that hadn’t reached the popular consciousness, but performed in such a way as to make each one unique. Tormé can be heard scatting, blending with the horns and performing unassisted voice modulations. On this album you can hear the beginnings of Tormé’s signature cool jazz accompanied by the stylings of the impressive brass section.