Mel Tormé, The Velvet Fog (1970)
So many crooners. So many good singers. Singing so many good songs. I got to Mel Tormé in the silliest of ways – but it’s one that is in keeping with my generation’s way of being introduced to things I guess. The TV show Night Court, a favourite features Tormé – as himself; he was the idol of the Judge Harry character. So I remember watching this and my mum explaining that Mel was cool – a great singer, the real deal. And that was that. I believed her. She’d introduced me to many of the great jazz and blues singers I was already digging so why doubt this fact. I didn’t. And I might have been one of the only kids around that was a Night Court fan and followed up on the Mel Tormé reference. That’s how it’s been ever since – see a name mentioned that you don’t know or you’re intrigued by the context so you follow up. I’ve been chasing pointless knowledge down rabbit holes ever since I guess. But I also found that Mel Tormé was more than just a decent crooner – he was a great arranger, producer and songwriter. He was also a pretty decent drummer – so much so that he wrote a pretty great book about Buddy Rich. They were chums. And I think Mel was a vocal influence and hero to Buddy just as Buddy was a drum influence and hero to Mel. That’s kinda cool, right?
Sample Track: It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)
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