Mel Torme At The Red Hill/Live At The Maisonette

by: Mel Torme

Recorded more than twelve years after his first live album on Atlantic, Mel Tormé's Live at the Maisonette shows the effects of time on an aging band singer, which isn't always a bad thing. A bit less bouncy and unhinged than at his 1962 Red Hill gig, Tormé is the consummate showman here, inaugurating his fourth season at the Maisonette Room of New York's St. Regis Hotel with a new band (Al Porcino's Orchestra), new arrangements (as usual, by Tormé himself), and a few surprises for the crowd. After jumping in with an up-tempo opener ("Jet Set"), he turns the lights down for "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life," cranks the tempo back up for "Mountain Greenery," and indulges in a familiar impersonation of Ella Fitzgerald for "Route 66." After taking a mere 15 minutes to spin through a 17-song (!) medley celebrating the 75th anniversary of George Gershwin's birth (again feting Fitzgerald in the process), Tormé delivers the big surprise of the set, a solid -- yet slightly stodgy -- version of Stevie Wonder's hit "Superstition." ~ John Bush

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