Great arrangements; beautiful harmony
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mel surrounded himself with his old group, The Mel-Tones, and some crack jazz musicians (including Art Pepper on sax) for this excursion through various standards. The vocal arrangements are incredibly sophisticated and challenging, the harmonies are wonderful. If you enjoy close harmony against a background of uncompromising jazz instrumental work, this is for you. Think of the Mills Brothers or the McGuire Sisters, with their tight harmonies, and instrumental backing that is more assertive and smart than creampuff, and you have this, one of my favorite vocal jazz records."
One of the best vocal groups
Richard Roland | New York, NY USA | 06/26/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mel reunites with the vocal group he started out with and produces this album. Torme's arrangements are still quite ahead of their time in this recording, but they still stand bold and are intenstely fresh and still quite sophisticated. It's easy to hear the influence on groups like The Singers Unlimited and The New York Voices, and certain tunes that Gene Puerling (of Singers Unlimited and The Hi-Los) would arrange for the Manhattan Transfer.
The Mel-Tones is a five-part group consisting of three men and two women. It's clear that Mel is the lead on most of these tunes, as well he should be. They are slick without being greasy, they swing without being cheesy, and they are fun without being sugary.
These are all great interpretations of these tunes. One standout is the infusion of Basie's "April In Paris" into "I've Never Been In Love Before." My favorite cuts on this album are "Truckin'," "Some Like It Hot," "Don't Dream Of Anybody But Me" (an adaptation of Basie's "Li'l Darlin'"), and, especially, "Bunch of the Blues" which I find to be very avant-garde for the time.
I wish they had recorded more, but this is all they gave us. What an outstanding collection of vocal jazz arrangements."