Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Columbia Album of Cole Porter
Genres: Jazz, Pop, Soundtracks, Broadway & Vocalists
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A tour de force of arranging genius!
ALBERT J. COPLAND | CHICAGO, IL USA | 03/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It was autumn 1954, the dawn of the high-fidelity era, when I started collecting records. I was in second grade and determined to build a world-class collection. One of the delights of record collecting back then was a genre that's disappeared today: large studio orchestra recordings of custom-tailored arrangements of largely Broadway-based standards from the 1920s-1950s. The arrangers were celebrities in their own right back then and their studio orchestras often featured (uncredited) members of leading symphony orchestras and many jazz stars.Once a week I would go to my record store and prowl their shelves. On this particular day I spied an important looking box set called "The Columbia Album of Popular American Music." Inside the slipcase were 4 2-record albums, each dedicated to a single popular songwriter and arranged by a single arranger. It was a sumptuous box with a sumptuous price ... There was one album dedicated to George Gershwin arranged by Percy Faith, another for Jerome Kern arranged by Paul Weston, Richard Rodgers arranged by Andre Kostelanetz, and, finally, an album dedicated to the least familiar composer to me, Cole Porter, arranged by a very young, unknown Frenchman named Michel Legrand.I had to have this collection. Fortunately the holidays were around the corner and my grandmother, who supported my interest in music, wanted to know what I wanted for my present. I told her and the box duly appeared among my presents. I listened to the Cole Porter/Michel Legrand album after listening to the 3 albums of music with which I was familiar. Their sumptuous, string-drenched, respectful arrangements were wonderful and I expected to hear something similiar from the unknown Frenchman...Instead, I had one of the most exciting listening experiences of my life: arrangements of songs it turned out I knew (I just hadn't known they were all by a man named Cole Porter) that combined classical and hard-charging jazz elements in such an original, dynamic way as to represent recompositions of Mr. Porter's timeless originals. Nearly 50 years later, I still feel the same way. Whenever I play this CD version, friends invariably ask who is it because the arrangements are so brilliant. Legrand's wit and sophistication match Porter's at every turn: they are almost surrealistic, with the musicians sounding like they are having the time of their lives. Of course Legrand has long since become world-famous as a jazz-oriented composer in his own right (although never, in my opinion, approaching the unsentimental brilliance of his work on this album). But this album, despite its slightly congested sound, remains not just a pinnacle in his career, but one of the most intense examples of what arrangers of genius could accomplish before synthesizers and other digital resources started replacing overly expensive "live" studio orchestras of symphonic size. This is the kind of reissue that usually goes out of print 2 minutes after it's released these days, so do yourself a favor and get it NOW for one of the most amazing examples of arranging genius you will ever hear."