El Señor Bing

by: Bing Crosby

Billy May wasn't just the go-to arranger for the punchiest of big-band material, he was also the best man to call when a vocalist desired to travel south of the border. He was co-billed on Mel Tormé's wonderful Latin LP of 1959 (Olé Tormé), and he helmed Bing Crosby's similar affair, El Señor Bing, during a pair of 1960 sessions. The results are excellent, pure delight for anyone who loves to hear one of the best American voices take on "Malagueña" and "Andalucia," along with a few decidedly domestic titles like "How High the Moon" or "Pagan Love Song." May's charts are very similar to his work with Tormé, emphasizing brass, flutes, and vibraphone. Interestingly, Bing tackles two songs during each track, making the record a series of medleys that causes the record to move as smoothly and effortlessly as possible (the transition from "In the Still of the Night" to "I Could Have Danced All Night" is poetry). Though Crosby's voice wasn't as light and supple as Tormé's, his relaxed sense of swing is an excellent counter-balance for Billy May's smart, punchy arrangements. ~ John Bush

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