Welcome to the finale of the life and music of Mel Tormé and his life and music. Not only a prolific composer but an entertainer who won the hearts of millions of music lovers around the world. I will hand over to William Price King to take us through the 80s and 90s.
Mel Tormé enjoyed a wonderful collaboration with George Shearing with popular albums but he also worked with other musicians during the mid to late 80s. These included an album with Rob McConnell and the Boss Brass resulting in a hit in the jazz chart of 1986. He also teamed up with his old friend Marty Paich and the Dek-Tette in 1988 and 1989 for Reunion with Marty Paich and In Concert in Tokyo. The album included one of Mel’s favourite classics by Duke Ellington – It Don’t Mean A Thing….
In 1988 Mel published his autobiography It Wasn’t All Velvet – in reference to his nickname The Velvet Fog…Here is an extract from a review by Mary Whipple in 2006 for the book.
‘For those who love jazz and the entertainment business, the book is fascinating, giving insights into Harry James, Buddy Rich, Chico Marx, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mercer, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Duke Ellington, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Dick Martin (of Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In). Tormé’s analyses of his professional failures (such as his disaster at the Copacabana) and of his betrayals by some of his “friends” show how closely some entertainers identify with their career decisions and how agonizing the ups and downs of professional life can be.
Some of the book can be considered self-congratulatory, and other parts reflect Tormé’s desire to set the record straight (and give some payback for past wrongs), but the book gives an articulate and thoughtful presentation of the life of someone who has been considered the greatest male jazz singer of the twentieth century. A fascinating and insightful look at show business, with all its warts’
Mel continued to perform and record albums in the early 90s with albums the live Night at the Concord Pavilion in 1990, a George Shearing collaboration for the studio collection of 1940s songs Mel and George ‘Do’ World War II and a duet album in 1991 with Cleo Laine, Nothing Without You. Here is Mel and Cleo performing After You’ve Gone...
In 1992 Christmas Songs for Telarc Records gave Mel his first pop chart success, and he also recorded a live album The Great American Songbook and Sing Sing Sing. 1993 saw the release of the classic album Blue Moon and in 1994 a studio album A Tribute to Bing Crosby. Mel was now approaching 70 but he maintained his live performances with a very strict health regime to maintain his unique voice. Here is Mel with that unforgettable classic ‘Blue Moon’ written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart in 1934.
In July 1996 following the release of The Mel Torme collection 1944-1985 by Rhino Records, Mel recorded his last live album An Evening with Mel Torme for the A&E network. In the August he suffered a stroke and although he recovered he was unable to perform again. He was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in February 1999 and died following another stroke on 5th June 1999 ages 73.
He left behind an extraordinary legacy in his more than 250 songs, many of which are jazz standards and still performed by artists around the world. But it is his own ability to capture the hearts of his audiences with his immaculate and outstanding delivery of those songs that will be most remembered.
“Tormé works with the most beautiful voice a man is allowed to have, and he combines it with a flawless sense of ‘pitch’… As an improviser he shames all but two or three other “scat singers” and quite a few horn players as well.” Will Friedwald, Jazz Singing
I will leave you with Mel’s performance ‘That’s All’ written by Alan Brandt and Bob Haymes and a reminder of some of the highlights of his life put together by TexPaco.
Additional material and images http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Torm%C3%A9
YouTube Channel for Mel Torme – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYLwWpHekuN6mOxqmqUUJfw
About William Price King.
William Price King is an American jazz singer, musician and composer. Originally he studied classical music and opera but over the years his style has evolved to what many refer to as the ‘sweet point’ where music and voice come together so beautifully.
His vocal mentors are two of the greatest giants in jazz, Nat King Cole and Mel Torme. His jazz album, ‘Home,’ is a collection of contemporary songs and whilst clearly a homage to their wonderful legacy it brings a new and refreshing complexity to the vocals that is entrancing.
His latest album Eric Sempe and William Price King is now available to download. The repertory includes standards such as “Bye Bye Blackbird” (a jazz classic), Sting’s “Englishman in New York,” Queen’s “The Show Must Go On”, Led Zepplin’s “Stairway to Heaven” and other well-known jazz, pop, and rock classics.
William and Eric Sempe have also brought their own magic to the album with original tracks such as Keep on Dreaming and Red Snow with collaboration with Jeanne King
Download the new album. http://cdbaby.com/cd/williampriceking
William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.
Connect with William
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
You can explore all of William’s series at this link:
Thank you for joining us today and for those of you who missed the Mel Torme series the first time around we hope you enjoyed the performances.