Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – The World Is Changing And I’m Stuck Here!” by Billy Ray Chitwood


Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers can share posts that might not have got all the attention they deserved back in the early days of the blog.. or posts that the writer would like to share with a new audience mine.  The blogs should be over 12 months old for established writers and over 6 months old for those who started blogging in the last year.

Details on how you can share your blog posts can be found here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2018/02/09/happy-new-year-and-the-start-of-the-2018-series-of-smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives/

Please read through before sending as there are some time restrictions on the post and information I need to do the article justice.

Now time to meet author Billy Ray Chitwood with the first of his archive posts. Today Billy is nostalgic for the music of his hell-raising years, when stars such as Frank Sinatra and Kay Starr made a highball taste better……

Classical music has always had a soothing quality for me. Those plaintive country songs, ‘Mama’s gone – I’m sad – too bad,’ were part of my early life in Tennessee, and they still have a certain resonance for me. Never ever liked the heavy metal music, the loud ear-drum jarring sounds that came from the discotheques during my hell-raising years, and, generally, all those songs that might have had some fine lyrics but got lost in all the high drum rolls. the heavy strumming, and the screeching brassy noise.

Now, don’t mind me. It’s just my being an anachronism, one of those guys stuck right in the middle of some century in which he likely doesn’t quite belong. The ballad has always been my musical preference, and, yes, I suppose the pretty ladies might have had something to do with that. The ballad sort of went with my soft southern gentleman style, that incurable romanticism that seemed ever-present, that mysterious wanderlust that kept me moving over God’s glorious acres. A bottle of wine, ‘ole blue eyes’ Sinatra singing “Three Coins In The Fountain,” and a pretty lady sitting with me in a gin mill booth, hey, there was no tomorrow — just that night of soft light and touches and a ‘glow’ as big as the moon.

So I sit here looking out at the steady ebbing and flowing of The Sea of Cortez and wonder how the world has changed. Have no doubt about it…the world has changed. Sure, one generation moves along remembering the ‘good old days’ and gives way to a new generation that finds different sounds and words to describe their feelings. Of course it’s inevitable. Time doesn’t move without changes.

Just why is it that some of us sort of stay where we’ve been all our lives? New jobs, maybe. New houses, maybe. New friends and acquaintances, sure. Maybe it’s just me, stuck in a time-warp thing. Maybe I’m homemade vanilla and don’t want raspberry, mocha, or one of those thirty-one flavors. Politicians make me mad (nothing new there). Still got some Hitlers in the world (nothing new there). Still fighting wars (something new there — different ‘ammo!’).

The big thing is, we don’t have the Frank Sinatras, the Perry Comos, the Dean Martins, the Jo Staffords, the Joni James, the Kay Starrs, all those beautiful ballad-loving gents and ladies that made a highball taste better, made a kiss at the end of an evening the goal of the day.

Know what? It’s just me, being an anachronism. The world’s all okay… I’m just stuck here!

©Billy Ray Chitwood 2012.

A small selection of the books by Billy Ray Chitwood

A recent review of Mama’s Madness

Karen Ingalls  4.0 out of 5 stars Chilling  February 4, 2018

A chilling and disturbing story based on a true event. I had difficulty putting the book down hoping that the main character would be found and punished. There were some editorial issues and at times there was too much repetition, but overall a good book. I appreciated the author’s epilogue which gave the story more meaning.

And one for Stranger Abduction

“Stranger Abduction” is a well-written novel based on an actual event. A mother and daughter walk from their home to a store in Arizona and never make it back. Mr. Chitwood gives a very viable and chilling account as to what might have happened next. Doris and Deena find themselves thrown into the human trafficking trade, while the Deputy Jack Kiefer never gives up on finding them. The details and characters kept this a page turning book as well as the side story with the Deputy. This is a glimpse into an evil that is going on around us as “products” (a label used for Doris and Deena) are being drugged and used for other’s gratification or service. I highly recommend this book, because even with a dark subject matter there are always heroes.

Read the reviews and discover and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Billy-Ray-Chitwood/e/B00502520Q

Read more reviews and follow Billy Ray on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4832225.Billy_Ray_Chitwood

About Billy Ray Chitwood

An Appalachian hill boy from east Tennessee, Billy Ray Chitwood has family roots that go back to tenth century England and a hamlet just north of London called Chetwode.

Billy Ray received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, taught high school ‘Advanced Writing’ in Lorain, Ohio. He has served honorably and proudly in the United States Navy. Aside from sales/marketing management positions with top textbook publishers, he has been a model and an actor in film, stage, television. He is still active in his own business as the CEO of Chitwood, Inc.

Billy Ray has written fifteen books, most of which you will find on amazon and amazon UK. Many of his novels of fiction were inspired from actual crimes. His first book, “The Cracked Mirror – Reflections Of An Appalachian Son,” is a fictional memoir which has much factual and historical accuracy about the author’s own life.

Currently, Billy Ray spends his time on the Cumberland Plateau in Middle Tennessee with his lovely wife, Julie Anne, and their feisty but lovable Bengal cat named George.

Connect to Billy Ray

Website: https://brchitwood.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/brchitwood
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/billyrayscorner/

Thanks to Billy Ray for sharing this nostalgic post today and to be honest he is not alone….who does not love a bit of Frank….Thank you for dropping in today and it would be great if you could leave a comment and share the post. Sally

Summer Jazz with William Price King – Ella Fitzgerald – Part Four – Collaborations


William and his musicLast week in the Ella Fitzgerald story we discovered the delights of the eight Songbooks that Ella recorded up to 1964. This week a brief look at her appearances on the large and small screens and also her collaborations with some of the best performers of the day. My thanks as always to William Price King for his wonderful contribution to the blog and you will find links to his other articles at the end of the post.

Ella Fitzgerald was an exceptional performer and this did cross over into both television and film roles in the 50s. Her manager Norman Granz was able to negotiate a role for Ella in the Jack Webb 1955 jazz film Pete Kelly’s Blues alongside Janet Leigh and Peggy Lee. This was her first film since 1942 and Ella was thrilled by the opportunity.. Unfortunately the critics where not so thrilled with the film but despite this The New York Times did offer some comfort to Ella and her fans. “About five minutes (out of ninety-five) suggest the picture this might have been. Take the ingenious prologue … [or] take the fleeting scenes when the wonderful Ella Fitzgerald, allotted a few spoken lines, fills the screen and sound track with her strong mobile features and voice.”

At the time leading roles for African American actresses were difficult to find, but Ella appeared from time to time in cameos for St. Louis Blues in 1958 for example and on television in the 1980s drama The White Shadow.

However, she did make many guest performances with the established musical shows of the day including with one of her favourite singers Frank Sinatra. Also Andy Williams, Pat Boone, Nat King Cole, Dean Martin and Mel Tormé. She was a frequent guest on The Ed Sullivan Show and here is a wonderful, but unfortunately short, performance of “Three Little Maids from School” from The Mikado, alongside Joan Sutherland and Dinah Shore.

Ella was very popular with producers when it came to television commercials and one of her longest running was for Memorex tapes. Here is a short compilation to remind us not just of her amazing voice but also those days when we all thought that cassette tapes where the last word in technology! In the original advert Ella sang and shattered a glass, when the tape was played back the recording also broke the glass, asking: “Is it live, or is it Memorex?”

The Collaborations.

There is no doubt that Ella Fitzgerald performed and often recorded with the finest musicians and singers of the day. These included Bill Kenney & The Ink Spots, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington.

Out of the seven songs that Ella recorded with the Ink Spots, four reached the top of the pop charts including “I’m Making Believe” for Decca Records in 1944. With hundreds of thousands of servicemen and women over in Europe this song was hugely popular and reached number one in the chart.

The three Verve Studio albums with Louis Armstrong also did very well including the last album that featured the music from the Gershwin musical Porgy and Bess. Ella also recorded with Louis on a number of records for Decca in the 50s.

Her collaboration with Count Basie pleased the critics and her 1963 album Ella and Basie! is considered to be one of the best. Here is one of the classics from the album “Ain’t Misbehavin’ ” written by Harry Brooks, Andy Razaf and Fats Waller

Ella and Count Basie also collaborated on the 1972 album Jazz at Santa Monica Civic ’72, and on the 1979 albums Digital III at Montreaux, A Classy Pair and A Perfect Match.

Last week we covered the Duke Ellington Songbook but Ella and the ‘Duke’ also worked together on the 1966 album Ella and Duke at the Cote D’Azur, and in Sweden for The Stockholm Concert 1966. Their 1965 album Ella at Duke’s Palace is also extremely well received. Here is a video of one of the live performances from Stockholm. “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)”.

One of the stars that Ella would have dearly loved to collaborate with on an album was Frank Sinatra. Despite several memorable performances by them on stage and in television specials, that was never to happen. A great shame, although thankfully we do have recorded magic available on YouTube to share, including this wonderful performance of “Can’t we be friends”.

One of their most successful joint collaborations was with Count Basie in 1974 for a series of concerts at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas which was so popular and when they transferred to Broadway for two weeks in September 1975 the show grossed a million dollars in two weeks.

Join us next week for the final part of the amazing and wonderful life of Ella Fitzgerald with some more outstanding performances.

Buy Ella Fitzgerald music.
http://www.amazon.com/Ella-Fitzgerald/e/B000APP6OU

Additional sources
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ella_Fitzgerald
http://www.ellafitzgerald.com/
https://www.youtube.com
Marilyn Monroe Video Archives
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Granz

William Price King – Jazz composer, musician and singer.

williampriceking

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.

LINKS
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

I hope that you have enjoyed and would love to receive your comments. Please feel free to reblog and share to others who love jazz and good music.

Summer Jazz with William Price King – The Music of Mel Torme – Part Two


Welcome to part two of the Mel Tormé story with William Price King. William has enjoyed a long and successful career as a Jazz composer, musician and singer and over the last thirty years he has delighted audiences with his performances of the classic Jazz standards sung by iconic artists of the last century such as Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé.

Last week we briefly touched on Mel’s life and work and now it is time to take a look at his early life and career.  I will hand you over to William to pick up the story.

William and his music

Mel Tormé was born in 1925 in Chicago to hard working Russian Jewish immigrant parents whose surname was actually Torma.

The Blackhawk Restaurant

The Blackhawk restaurant – image by http://www.diningchicago.com

His singing career took off at a very early age and at four years old he was entertaining the diners at The Blackhawk Restaurant in Chicago. The Blackhawk was opened in 1920 and the Big Band headliners at the time were the Coon-Sanders Orchestra. Quite the mouthful especially for a small boy of four who sang ‘You’re Driving Me Crazy’ for the first time with them in 1929.

This was a hugely popular venue and in later years Mel would perform there from time to time along with the other great musicians. Here is the Coon- Sanders Orchestra in 1928 with “Rhythm King” Courtesy of Phonmono78s

From 1933, between the ages of 8 and 16, Mel acted on radio in two soap operas of the day, The Romance of Helen Trent and Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy. During this period Mel turned his hand to song writing and by only 16 years old, his first published song, “Lament to Love,” was a hit for the very popular trumpeter Harry James. He also sang, arranged and played drums in a band led by Chico Marx who also headlined at the Blackhawk Restaurant.

Here is Mel’s first song performed by Harry James – Courtesy of MusicProf78

Whilst he sang and wrote music, Mel was also finishing his education at Chicago’s Hyde Park High School. Whilst at night and weekends he was playing and singing at the upmarket eatery, during the day he played drums in his school’s drum and bugle corps. He also debuted in his first film alongside another up and coming actor and singer, Frank Sinatra in “Higher and Higher” in 1943 before graduating from High School in 1944.

album Mel-tonesOn graduating from school Mel formed a vocal quintet “Mel Tormé and His Mel-Tones” among the first of the jazz-influenced vocal groups. The group had several hits with Artie Shaw’s band and on their own, including Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love?” Courtesy of The Record Changer.

Although Mel would not go solo until 1947, he did record romantic hits for Decca Records and the Musicraft label with the Arti Shaw Orchestra from 1945-1948.

In 1947 he began his solo career at the famous New York nightclub, Copacabana and it is here that he allegedly received his nickname ‘The Velvet Fog’ bestowed by a local DJ as a tribute. Although Mel was not impressed and referred to it as ‘this Velvet Frog voice’. This is at odds with what the critics felt about his voice as illustrated in this quote from Will Friedwald – Jazz Singing

“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.”

Along with Mel’s developing solo career came a part in the Rogers & Hart film Words and Music in which he sang ‘Blue Moon’ and a revival of The Mel Torme Show from his teen years. More movie song writing assignments came along for studios such as Walt Disney and in early 1949 he was signed to Capitol Records.

The hits kept coming including ‘Careless Hands,’ ‘Again’ and ‘Blue Moon’ through to ‘Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,’ in July 1950. The focus was on the music and his film career faded away in comparison to Frank Sinatra who was becoming increasingly popular across both film and music industries. Mel felt that he had been born just a few years too late to benefit from the huge popularity of both the era of the Big Band and Hollywood musicals.

His last chart hit for nearly ten years was with ‘Anywhere I Wander’ in November 1952 which was to be prophetic, as Mel Torme entered the 50s with no real direction and began to compete with the new popular music that was taking over the charts.

Part three next Wednesday with the challenges that Mel faced in the 50s and early 60s.

Album cover http://www.cdandlp.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Torme

About William Price King.

Price King Eric Sempe

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
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can explore all of William’s series at this link:

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king-jazz-and-music-series/

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.

A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Quincy Jones – 1980s


In part four of the Quincy Jones story, William Price King explores the relationship that Quincy formed with some of the most iconic names in the music industry. Also how he used his influence to produce one of the top selling singles every released.

QJ Awards

Quincy Jones has now been at the peak of his musical career for the last 20 years having worked with the top artists in the industry.

In 1979 Quincy had produced Off The Wall with Michael Jackson for Epic Records. The two men had become friends after working on The Wiz together. They recorded the album between December 1978 and June 1979 and released it in the August. Michael Jackson had collaborated with other songwriters and composers such as Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder. He had also written three of the tracks himself including the Grammy winning Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough. Five singles were released from the album becoming chart hits and over 8 million copies were sold. This cemented Michael Jackson as an International superstar and Quincy Jones as the most sought after record producer in Hollywood.

In 1980 his album The Dude won three Grammy awards. Collaborators on the album included vocalist James Ingram on two of the tracks; Just Once and One Hundred Ways. Razzmatazz with vocals by Patti Austin reached No. 11 in the UK singles chart and received a great deal of play time in the US… The album won a Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement, Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal and Best Instrumental Arrangement (Accompanying Vocalists).

Here is Patti Austin with Razzmatazz.

Quincy now settled in for the next ten years as head of his own label Qwest and putting his own releases on the back burner he focused on producing for other artists.

This included one of the bestselling singles of all time. We Are The World is a charity single written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie and produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Omartian for the album of the same name We Are The World. Quincy had used his influence to draw in most of the top American recording artists of the day to raise funds for the victims of Ethiopia’s famine. When asked how he had managed to make this multi-talented cast of singers work harmoniously he explained that he had taped a notice on the door at the entrance. “Check Your Ego At The Door”.

It sold in excess of 20 million copies and is one of less than 30 singles to have sold at least 10 million copies worldwide.

Quincy and Michael Jackson worked together again in 1982 on the bestselling album Thriller with 40 million sold. Six of the singles were in the Top Ten including Billie Jean and Beat It.

In 1987 they teamed up again for Michael Jackson’s 7th studio album Bad and Michael not only composed nine of the eleven tracks but also received co-producer credit for the whole album alongside Quincy. The album received six Grammy nominations and won two. It was to be the successful team’s final collaboration.

One of the most successful singles… Billie Jean from the album Thriller.

On hearing of Michael’s death, Quincy said the following:

‘”For Michael to be taken away from us so suddenly at such a young age, I just don’t have the words. Divinity brought our souls together on The Wiz and allowed us to do what we were able to throughout the ’80s. To this day, the music we created together on Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad is played in every corner of the world and the reason for that is because he had it all…talent, grace, professionalism and dedication. He was the consummate entertainer and his contributions and legacy will be felt upon the world forever. I’ve lost my little brother today, and part of my soul has gone with him.”

Another star that Quincy continued to work with during the 80s was Frank Sinatra and in 1984 they produced L.A. Is My Lady. After their long and successful artistic partnership Quincy had to say this about this megastar.

“Frank Sinatra took me to a whole new planet. I worked with him until he passed away in ’98. He left me his ring. I never take it off. Now, when I go to Sicily, I don’t need a passport. I just flash my ring.”

 Here is Frank Sinatra with the Quincy Jones Orchestra L.A. Is My Lady.

In 1985 a film arrived in the cinemas that was to take the world by storm; Stephen Spielberg’s adaptation of the novel, The Colour Purple. Starring Whoopi Goldberg and Opray Winfrey the movie received eleven Oscar Nominations. Quincy Jones wrote the score for the film and he also co-produced the musical adaptation of the novel which opened at The Broadway Theater in New York in 2005 The other producers were Scott Sanders, Harvey Weinstein and Oprah Winfrey. It was nominated for five 2006 Outer Critics Circle Awards including Outstanding Broadway Musical and Outstanding New Score. In the same year the show was nominated for eleven Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Original Score.

In 1989, Quincy Jones was presented with the Sammy Cahn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Songwriters Hall of Fame. With a wonderful career and many accolades and awards behind him, Quincy was playing is way into the 1990s with so much more to come.

To end this chapter in Quincy Jones story here is Miss Celie’s Blues from The Colour Purple.

My thanks to those who have uploaded videos to YouTube.

Buy Quincy Jones Music.

http://www.amazon.com/Quincy-Jones/e/B000AQ0MV6

Sources and information on tours and news for Quincy Jones.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quincy_Jones
http://www.biography.com/people/quincy-jones-9357524
http://www.quincyjones.com/

About William Price King

pricestudio

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 debut jazz album is called ‘Home,’ 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.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area. His album ‘Home’ is available to download and he is currently working on his new album available later in 2015.

LINKS
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find the previous post for Quincy Jones and the other series including Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Roberta Flack, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Sir George Shearing in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king/

We both would be very appreciative if you could leave a comment and share this new series on social media – Twitter and FB in particular. Many thanks Sally and William.

 

 

A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Quincy Jones Part Three


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Still under thirty, Quincy Jones has been making a name for himself in the music industry as a soloist, composer and arranging music for some of the top stars in the business. Quincy had huge success on the silver screen and his work on the emerging television top shows was to follow.

For those of you who watched television in the 70s, the show Ironside was one of the most popular dramas on both sides of the Atlantic. Running from 1967 to 1975 its distinctive theme music is still very recognisable today. This was the first time that a theme song was synthesizer based.

Quincy also composed the theme tunes for Sanford and Son, and The Bill Cosby Show.

Behind the scenes Quincy was also beginning to make his mark as a social activist and was a firm supporter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr. In particular Operation Breadbasket which was aimed at promoting economic development in the inner cities. After Dr. King’s death in Memphis on April 4th 1968, Quincy served on the board of Reverend Jesse Jackson’s People United to Save Humanity.

In 1969 at age 36, he signed a contract as a recording artist with A&M records and won a Grammy for best jazz instrumental on his first album with the label, Walking in Space.

Whilst he may have been up there with the stars of the music industry, Quincy Jones was also on his way to the moon. In the July of 1969 his arrangement of Frank Sinatra’s recording of Fly Me to the Moon with the Count Basie orchestra was the first music played by Buzz Aldrin on the first lunar landing mission.

The Grammy nominations continued with Quincy being nominated in 1970 for Best Original Score for The Lost Man and MacKenna’s Gold, in 1971 for Best instrumental arrangement, composition and Jazz performance for the album Gula Matari. In 1972 Quincy was nominated and won the award for Best Pop Instrumental performance for the album Smackwater Jack.

In 1971 Quincy was the first African American to be named as musical director and conductor of the Academy Awards ceremony. This appointment illustrated the impact his promotion of appreciation of African-American music and culture was having on the industry. He helped establish the IBAM (Institute for Black American Music and proceeds from events were donated toward the establishment of the Annual Black Arts Festival in Chicago.

One of the major projects of the IBAM was the CBS television special co-produced by Quincy in 1973. Duke Ellington, We Love You Madly featured performers such as Aretha Franklin, Peggy Lee and Count Basie with Quincy Jones leading the 48 strong orchestra.

His next Grammy win was for the best instrumental arrangement for the track Summer In The City in 1973.

His career had been intense and also very exhausting and in 1973 Quincy decided to take a break from producing sound tracks for Hollywood and take explore a new direction in his music.

One of the areas that Quincy had not yet showcased his talent was as a vocalist, and in 1973 he debuted his voice on You’ve Got it Bad with Valerie Simpson. The song stayed at the top of the charts for most of the summer

The follow up album in 1974, Body Heat sold over a million copies, staying in the top five in the charts for over six months. Hit songs from the album included Everything Must Change and If I Ever Lose This Heaven.

This title was a little too prophetic as in the August of 1974 Quincy Jones at just 41 years old suffered a near-fatal cerebral aneurysm. Over the next six months he underwent two very delicate operations to repair the blood vessels in his brain and recuperation.

Thankfully following this, Quincy was back at work and concluded his contract with A & M records with the albums Mellow Madness, I Heard That and The Dude.

Taking more control of his recording commitments was achieved by the founding of Qwest Productions in 1975. He continued to arrange and produce with singers such as Frank Sinatra and in 1977 wrote the score for the iconic mini-series Roots.

In 1978 he produced the soundtrack for The Wiz, the musical adaptation of The Wizard of Oz starring Michael Jackson and Diana Ross. Here is Everybody Rejoice to end this part of the Quincy Jones story and his return to full recovery.

BUY THE MOVIE: http://amzn.to/sBeUfl

My thanks to those who have uploaded videos to YouTube.

Buy Quincy Jones Music.

http://www.amazon.com/Quincy-Jones/e/B000AQ0MV6

Sources and information on tours and news for Quincy Jones.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quincy_Jones
http://www.biography.com/people/quincy-jones-9357524
http://www.quincyjones.com/

Next time… Quincy Jones and the 1980s

About William Price King

cover of Home by 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 debut jazz album is called ‘Home,’ 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.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area. His album ‘Home’ is available to download and he is currently working on his new album available later in 2015.

LINKS
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find the previous post for Quincy Jones and the other series including Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Roberta Flack, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Sir George Shearing in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king/

We both would be very appreciative if you could leave a comment and share this new series on social media – Twitter and FB in particular. Many thanks Sally and William.

 

A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Quincy Jones – Part Two


Welcome to the second part of the story of Quincy Jones; still going very strong in his 80s despite a recent health scare. Behind every successful singer with hit songs is usually and extraordinarily talented and skilled musician and arranger. Quincy Jones is as comfortable in front of the band as he is behind the scenes.  William Price King picks up the story as we enter the mid 50s and the 60s.  Part one can be found here.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/10/07/new-series-a-man-and-his-music-william-price-king-meets-quincy-jones-part-one/

Quincy in Paris

Quincy Jones was only in his late teens when he went on the road with band leader Lionel Hampton to Europe and he was to say later that it completely revised his opinion of racism in the United States.

“It gave you some sense of perspective of past, present and future. It took the myopic conflict between just black and white in the United States and put it on another level because you saw the turmoil between the Armenians and the Turks, and the Cypriots and the Greeks, and the Swedes and the Danes, and the Koreans and the Japanese. Everybody had these hassles, and you saw it was a basic part of human nature, these conflicts. It opened my soul, it opened my mind.”

Working with an established musician like Lionel Hampton opened many doors for Quincy and he opted to live in New York in the heart of the music business. All through the 1950s he worked as a freelance arranger for Tommy Dorsey, Sarah Vaughan, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dinah Washington and his friend and collaborator Ray Charles.

As an example of the work that he was producing in collaboration with some of the greats. Sarah Vaughan with the Quincy Jones Orchestra and the classic ‘Misty‘ in 1958 for Mercury Records.

He also toured the Middle East and South America as a trumpeter and musical director for the Dizzie Gillespie band and on his return recorded his first album as a band leader for ABC Paramount Records which was released in 1956. It was considered a masterpiece of arranging and band leading. Over a short period of time the recordings evolved into a re-invention of big band music. Quincy used complex harmonies and rhythms that gave a younger and more vibrant sound that attracted a new generation of listeners as well as impressed the old hands. The pieces were also technically demanding for five or six players but took on epic proportions when performed by 20 musicians.

In 1957, Quincy settled in Paris where he studied composition with Nadia Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen, and worked as a music director for Barclay Disques, Mercury Records’ French distributor. In 1958 Jones was invited by Princess Grace to arrange a benefit concert at the Monaco Sporting Club, featuring Frank Sinatra.

Here is Frank Sinatra with the Count Basie orchestra conducted by Quincy Jones.

He took to the road again as Musical Director of Harold Arlen’s jazz musical Free and Easy which closed back in Paris in 1960. Musicians who had been part of the tour included Art Farmer, Zoot Sims, Curtis Fuller, Phil Woods, Freddie Hubbard, Benny Golson, Art Blakey, and Hank Jones. Quincy took the newly formed band back on the road with families in tow and wowed audiences in Europe and the States. However, the overheads were astronomical and eventually they had to disband the orchestra. This left Quincy deeply in debt.

“We had the best jazz band on the planet, and yet we were literally starving. That’s when I discovered that there was music, and there was the music business. If I were to survive, I would have to learn the difference between the two.”

Mercury Records stepped in and helped Quincy out with a loan and he went to work for them in New York as music director. He went on to be appointed vice-president of the label and was the first African-American to hold that position in a white-owned company. As well as producing albums and writing arrangements for his own artists, he also worked with other artists including Andy Williams, Peggy Lee and Aretha Franklin. He still continued to work with Frank Sinatra, arranging conducting the album It Might As Well Be Swing.

The exceptional Peggy Lee with the Quincy Jones Orchestra in 1961 – As Time Goes By.

Into the early 60s and still under thirty years old, Quincy was working with top artists as an arranger. Joining his growing list of stars was the young Greek singer Nana Mouskouri. Quincy also released his own solo recordings including Walking In Space, You’ve Got It Bad and I Heard That! His Soul Bossa Nova has been used as the theme music for a number of films and television shows as well as the 1998 World Cup.

One of the most prolific singers that he worked with in the early sixties was Lesley Gore. Born Lesley Sue Goldstein, she recorded the iconic It’s My Party in 1963 at age 16 and went on to have hits with You Don’t Own me and California Nights. Quincy produced all of her four million-selling singles in the first half of the 60s including ‘The Look of Love in 1965.

In 1964 Frank Sinatra hired Quincy to arrange and conduct his second album with Count Basie, It Might As Well Be Swing. |He followed this by conducting and arranging the singer’s live album with The Basie Band, Sinatra at the Sands (1966).

Frank Sinatra was not the only member of the Rat Pack that Quincy was to work with when he arranged and conducted the trio along with Johnny Carson with the Count Basie orchestra at a charity benefit in 1965. The event was broadcast in movie theaters around the country before being released on DVD.

In 1964, it was time for Quincy to turn his attention to a then mainly white dominated sector of film scores and his first major motion picture project for Sidney Lumet was The Pawnbroker. The film that starred Rod Steiger, Geraldine Fitzgerald and Morgan Freeman. Apart from being Quincy’s first film score it was also the first American film to tell the story of the Holocaust from the perspective of a survivor and also one of the first to show nudity.

Quincy Jone and the main theme from The Pawnbroker

Following the success of his debut into the movie industry, Quincy left Mercury Records and moved to Los Angles. His career as a composer was established rapidly with films such as The Slender Thread, In The Heat of the Night, MacKenna’s Gold, Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice and The Getaway. He has written the scores for over thirty major motion pictures.

This success led to he and his song writing partner, Bob Russell becoming the first African Americans to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for The Eyes of Love from the film Banning. The same year Quincy was also the first to be nominated twice in the same year for Best Original Score for the film In Cold Blood.

My thanks to those who have uploaded videos to YouTube.

Buy Quincy Jones Music.

http://www.amazon.com/Quincy-Jones/e/B000AQ0MV6

Sources and information on tours and news for Quincy Jones.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quincy_Jones
http://www.biography.com/people/quincy-jones-9357524
http://www.quincyjones.com/

Next time… Quincy Jones and the 1970s

About William Price King

Price King Eric Sempe

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 debut jazz album is called ‘Home,’ 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.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area. His album ‘Home’ is available to download and he is currently working on his new album available later in 2015.

LINKS
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find the previous post for Quincy Jones and the other series including Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Roberta Flack, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Sir George Shearing in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king/

We both would be very appreciative if you could leave a comment and share this new series on social media – Twitter and FB in particular. Many thanks Sally and William.

 

 

New Series – A Man and his Music – William Price King meets Quincy Jones – Part One


Welcome to the new series by William Price King on the life and music of Quincy Jones.

Before we take a look at his life and music perhaps I could just briefly cover some of his lifetime achievements. This extraordinary man has not just been awarded the accolades heaped upon him by the music industry but has given back to the business, its artists and to those outside of music who have needed his help.

Despite being centre stage as a performer, Quincy Jones has excelled in most of the areas of popular music for over 65 years. He is a record producer, conductor, arranger, composer, musician, television producer, film producer, instrumentalist, magazine founder, entertainment company executive, children’s activist and humanitarian

He has received 79 Grammy nominations and 27 Grammy Awards. He was nominated for 7 Oscar Academy awards and he received The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1994. He has composed sound tracks for movies from the early 60s including for The Slender Thread, In The Heat of the Night, MacKenna’s Gold, The Italian Job and They Call Me Mr. Tibbs.

Here is the theme song from the soundtrack of The Colour Purple in 1985, although his own album is available here is the version by Itzhak Perlman on his album Perlman. You can buy the original soundtrack at the link at the end of the post.

Quincy has collaborated with the best in the business including Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson and Celine Dion. He has also invested time and funding to provide young musicians the opportunity to develop their own careers through education and community outreach.

In 2008, Quincy Jones was inducted into the California Hall of Fame and in 2009 made a Fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Later that year he was honoured with a Clinton Global Citizen award for Leadership in Philanthropy. In 2013 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and honoured in 1014 by the French by being made Commandeur de L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and is the first musician also be made Commandeur de la Legion d’Honneur.

Away from music he has devoted much of his life to social change and philanthropy.

In May 2000 the Quincy Jones Professorship of African American Music was established at Harvard University in Massachusetts with a grant of $3 million from Time Warner. In January 2001 he received the first Ted Arison Award from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, named for the man who created the organization.

He is founder of the Quincy Jones Listen Up Foundation which is a non-profit organisation that has built more than 100 homes in South Africa with an aim to connecting young people with technology, education, culture and music. In 2004 he helped launch the We Are the Future project, which gives children in poor and conflict-ridden areas a chance to live their childhoods and develop with a sense of hope.

In 2001, Jones became an honorary member of the board of directors of The Jazz Foundation of America. He has worked with The Jazz Foundation to save the homes and the lives of America’s elderly jazz and blues musicians, including those who survived Hurricane Katrina.

Quincy Jones is saluted at the 2001 Kennedy Center Honors by Stevie Wonder, Patti Austin and James Ingram. However, the star of the performance is the legendary Ray Charles who sings the old World War I song “My Buddy” – and makes it his own tribute to Quincy. Thanks to Henry B Walthall for uploading this video to Youtube.

Jones and his friend John Sie, founder of Liberty Starz, worked together to create the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.

In this first post I just want to touch on his early life as that is already well documented in Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones which won a Grammy in the best spoken word album category.

You can buy his autobiography and his other books from his author’s site on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Quincy-Jones/e/B001HD1UDA

Quincy’s early influences.

Born in 1933 on the South Side of Chicago as Quincy Delight Jones Jnr. to Sarah and Quincy Delight Jones snr, he was to get an early introduction to music by his mother who sang religious songs. He was also lucky enough to be able to hear a neighbour Lucy Jackson playing her stride piano (jazz piano style that was developed in the large cities of the East Coast, mainly New York, during the 1920s and 1930s) through the walls of their adjoining houses. Listening to the music was not enough and so Quincy would head next door and began his musical career in earnest.

Unfortunately his mother Sarah suffered a breakdown when Quincy and his brother were very young and she was institutionalised. His father eventually remarried to Elvera who had three children with another three arriving in following years after moving to the Northwest.

Quincy attended Garfield High School in Seattle and developed his early love of music by studying the trumpet and music composition and arranging. He met a new classmate, Charles Taylor whose mother was Evelyn Bundy, one of Seattle’s first jazz-band leaders. This opened up doors for Quincy and at fourteen, he and Charles were playing in the National Reserve Band.

This was also the age when he met Ray Charles who was then himself only 16 years old. After watching Ray perform, Quincy introduced himself and considers him to be an early inspiration for his own career. Combined with a strong and empowering family environment and an inherited work ethic from his father, Quincy was now set on his future in music.

A great track from the Quincy Jones album “Back on the Block” released in 1989. Performed by Ray Charles and Chaka Khan. I’ll Be Good To You.

At eighteen Quincy won a scholarship to Seattle University along with another star in the making, Clint Eastwood. After the first semester however, Quincy transferred to the Berklee College of Music in Boston on another scholarship. The course work was tough and Quincy was studying 10 subjects related to performing, arranging and composing. To cover his expenses he played at what he terms ‘a real dive’ locally called Izzy Ort’s Bar & Grille where he was influenced by alto player Bunny Campbell and pianist and arranger Preston Sandiford.

His studies came to an end when he was offered the practical experience of touring as a trumpeter with the legendary Lionel Hampton. Lionel was a jazz pianist, percussionist, actor and bandleader and had worked with the best including Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman and Charlie Parker. This was a great start to Quincy’s professional career and it also offered him the opportunity to demonstrate his talent for arranging songs. This lead to him moving to New York where he worked freelance arranging songs for artists such as Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughn and his old and now close friend Ray Charles.

Frank Sinatra sings I Only Have Eyes For You with the Count Basie Orchestra directed by Quincy Jones. Count Basie on the piano. Uploaded by VicoKrav

Buy Quincy Jones Music.

http://www.amazon.com/Quincy-Jones/e/B000AQ0MV6

The Soundtrack The Colour Purple

http://www.amazon.com/Color-Purple-The-CD-Reissue/dp/B000A2H8Z8/ref=ntt_mus_ep_dpi_12

Sources and information on tours and news for Quincy Jones.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quincy_Jones
http://www.biography.com/people/quincy-jones-9357524
http://www.quincyjones.com/

About William Price King

cover of Home by 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 debut jazz album is called ‘Home,’ 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.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area. His album ‘Home’ is available to download and he is currently working on his new album available later in 2015.

LINKS
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

You can find the other series including Nat King Cole, Mel Torme, Roberta Flack, Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Sir George Shearing in this directory.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king/

We both would be very appreciative if you could leave a comment and share this new series on social media – Twitter and FB in particular. Many thanks Sally and William.

 

A Man and His Music – William Price King meets Mel Tormé – Part Three – The 50s


Mel torme album

It is time to pick up the story of Mel Torme’s career in the 50s and early 60s which in many respects was an unsettled and frustrating period commercially. Mel blamed the increasingly popular rock and roll music for the demise of Jazz as music of choice and even referred to it as “three-chord manure”

After leaving Capitol records in 1952, a year passed in limbo until Mel signed up with the Coral label which was a subsidiary of Decca Records. It had been formed in 1949 and had signed and released music from both swing, Jazz and the new dreaded Rock and Roll with the likes of Buddy Holly and the Crickets. Mel recorded a number of singles with Coral and then in December 1954 a live performance was recorded at the very popular Crescendo Club in Los Angeles that would mark the beginning of Mel’s many “Live” albums.

The Crescendo Club via Hollywood Pictures.

 Crescendo club. hollywoodphotographs.com

It was time for Mel to move on again and this time back to his roots with a small Jazz label, Bethlehem Records, who had released first albums for up and coming singers such as Nina Simone. Mel released a ballad LP, It’s a Blue World with Bethlehem in 1955 and this marked the first of many recordings in association with pianist/arranger Marty Paich. They formed the Marty Paich Dek-tette with a strategy to try and loosen Frank Sinatra’s hold on the charts at the time by recording little known songs that Frank had not covered as yet… This included the perennial favourite “Lulu’s Back in Town” in 1956 written in 1935 by Al Dubin and Harry Warren.

Along with recording, Mel also began to tour more including overseas visiting Australia in 1955. In 1956, a single from the live album Mel recorded with Coral, the Rodgers & Hart song “Mountain Greenery,”was released as a single in the UK reaching the top ten in time for Mel’s first tour in Europe.

On his return to Los Angeles in late 1956 Mel recorded an new LP – Mel Tormé Sings Fred Astaire with Marty Paich. This should have been a time of consolidation for Mel and a new opportunity to get a foothold in the charts. Unfortunately his record company Bethlehem was having problems and despite recording another Live Album at the Crescendo in 1957 and a further LP, Songs for Any Taste” the label went out of business. Mel returned to England that summer and cut a record for his fans there with Philips Records – Tormé Meets the British. Back in the US he signed a contract with a small label, Tops, and recorded the concept album Prelude to a Kiss in 1958. The album charted the course of a relationship with the songs linked with dialogue. One of the songs on the album is “I’ve Got the World on a String” by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler

This was followed by a new label signing back to his Jazz roots with Verve Records where Ella Fitzgerald was recording. Over the next four years he released eight albums under the label Tormé; Olé Tormé: Mel Tormé Goes South of the Border with Billy May; Back in Town (with the Mel-Tones); Mel Tormé Swings Shubert Alley; Swingin’ on the Moon; Broadway, Right Now! (with Margaret Whiting); I Dig the Duke! I Dig the Count!; and My Kind of Music. All the albums did well with Jazz fans but were not huge sellers and by the early 60’s Mel decided to move on to the Atlantic Record Label.

A great boost to Mel’s career came along in the form of a revival in his acting career including in the television drama The Comedian and in appearances in a number of films including Girls Town and Walk Like a Dragon in 1960 with the added bonus of the title song being written and performed by Mel.

A final performance from the CD, “Olé Tormé: Mel Tormé Goes South of the Border with Billy May.” Mel Tormé is accompanied by the great Billy May and His Orchestra. Originally released on the Verve label, April 2, 1959. Vaya con Dios was composed in 1953 by Larry Russell, Inez James, and Buddy Pepper. Courtesy of davidhertzberg1

On Wednesday another featured iconic song performed by William Price King and next Saturday we follow Mel into the 60s and early 70s.

Here are Part One and Part Two of the series so far.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/a-man-and-his-music-william-price-king-meets-mel-torme/ Part One.
https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/01/17/a-man-and-his-music-william-price-king-meets-mel-torme-part-two-1940s/ Part Two
https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/01/21/a-man-and-his-music-william-price-king-iconic-jazz-my-funny-valentine/
https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/william-price-king-iconic-songs-of-the-last-century-stardust/

Links to the Nat King Cole series.
https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king/

Sources
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miss_Otis_Regrets
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It%27s_a_Blue_World_%28Mel_Torm%C3%A9_album%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Torm%C3%A9
Album covers – http://www.amazon.com/Mel-Torme/e/B000APVACW

William Price King – Jazz composer, musician and singer.

Price King Eric Sempe

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 debut jazz album is called ‘Home,’ 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.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area.

LINKS
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484

 

A Man and His Music – William Price King meets Mel Tormé – Part Two – 1940s


Welcome to part two of the Mel Tormé story with William Price King. William has enjoyed a long and successful career as a Jazz composer, musician and singer and over the last thirty years he has delighted audiences with his performances of the classic Jazz standards sung by iconic artists of the last century such as Nat King Cole and Mel Tormé.

You can find a link at the bottom of the post to William’s directory and his previous series on the life and music of Nat King Cole, but this week it is time to look at the 1940s and the start of Mel Tormé’s long career in music, television and film.

Mel torme 16 years old ebay

Mel Tormé was born in 1925 in Chicago to hard working Russian Jewish immigrant parents whose surname was actually Torma.

The Blackhawk Restaurant

The Blackhawk restaurant – image by http://www.diningchicago.com

His singing career took off at a very early age and at four years old he was entertaining the diners at The Blackhawk Restaurant in Chicago. The Blackhawk was opened in 1920 and the Big Band headliners at the time were the Coon-Sanders Orchestra. Quite the mouthful especially for a small boy of four who sang ‘You’re Driving Me Crazy’ for the first time with them in 1929.

This was a hugely popular venue and in later years Mel would perform there from time to time along with the other great musicians. Here is the Coon- Sanders Orchestra in 1928 with “Rhythm King” Courtesy of Phonmono78s

From 1933, between the ages of 8 and 16, Mel acted on radio in two soap operas of the day, The Romance of Helen Trent and Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy. During this period Mel turned his hand to song writing and by only 16 years old, his first published song, “Lament to Love,” was a hit for the very popular trumpeter Harry James. He also sang, arranged and played drums in a band led by Chico Marx who also headlined at the Blackhawk Restaurant.

Here is Mel’s first song performed by Harry James – Courtesy of MusicProf78

Whilst he sang and wrote music, Mel was also finishing his education at Chicago’s Hyde Park High School. Whilst at night and weekends he was playing and singing at the upmarket eatery, during the day he played drums in his school’s drum and bugle corps. He also debuted in his first film alongside another up and coming actor and singer, Frank Sinatra in “Higher and Higher” in 1943 before graduating from High School in 1944.

album Mel-tones

On graduating from school Mel formed a vocal quintet “Mel Tormé and His Mel-Tones” among the first of the jazz-influenced vocal groups. The group had several hits with Artie Shaw’s band and on their own, including Cole Porter’s “What Is This Thing Called Love?” Courtesy of The Record Changer.

Although Mel would not go solo until 1947, he did record romantic hits for Decca Records and the Musicraft label with the Arti Shaw Orchestra from 1945-1948. In 1947 he began his solo career at the famous New York nightclub, Copacabana and it is here that he allegedly received his nickname ‘The Velvet Fog’ bestowed by a local DJ as a tribute. Although Mel was not impressed and referred to it as ‘this Velvet Frog voice’. This is at odds with what the critics felt about his voice as illustrated in this quote from Will Friedwald Jazz Singing

“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.”

Along with Mel’s developing solo career came a part in the Rogers & Hart film Words and Music in which he sang ‘Blue Moon’ and a revival of The Mel Torme Show from his teen years. More movie song writing assignments came along for studios such as Walt Disney and in early 1949 he was signed to Capitol Records.

Blue Moon

The hits kept coming including ‘Careless Hands,’ ‘Again’ and ‘Blue Moon’ through to ‘Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,’ in July1950. The focus was on the music and his film career faded away in comparison to Frank Sinatra who was becoming increasingly popular across both film and music industries. Mel felt that he had been born just a few years too late to benefit from the huge popularity of both the era of the Big Band and Hollywood musicals.

His last chart hit for nearly ten years was with ‘Anywhere I Wander’ in November 1952 which was to be prophetic, as Mel Torme entered the 50s with no real direction and began to compete with the new popular music that was taking over the charts.

Part three next Saturday with the challenges that Mel faced in the 50s and early 60s. Join us on Wednesday for a special performance by William of one of the timeless songs of the era – My Funny Valentine.

Additional sources
Album cover http://www.cdandlp.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mel_Torme
Photo – Ebay.

Link to Part One. https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/a-man-and-his-music-william-price-king-meets-mel-torme/

pricestudio

William Price King – Jazz composer, musician and singer.
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 debut jazz album is called ‘Home,’ 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.

William is currently in France where he performs in popular Jazz Venues in Nice and surrounding area. His album ‘Home’ is available to download and more details in the Buy Music for Christmas.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/william-price-king/

LINKS
Links to website – http://www.williampriceking.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/WilliamPriceKing
Twitter – @wpkofficial
Regular Venue – http://cave-wilson.com/
ITunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/william-price-king/id788678484