Mel Torme – Swings Shubert Alley – Our Shootout Winner from 2012

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

The first Hot Stamper copy of this great album to hit the site in many, many years! We are HUGE fans of this album at Better Records, but it’s taken us a long time to pull together enough clean copies to make this shootout happen. Boy, was it worth all the trouble!   

The presence and immediacy here are staggering. Turn it up and Mel is right between your speakers, putting on the performance of a lifetime! One of our very favorite male vocal albums, and this copy will show you why — the sound and music are the tops.

The sound is big, open, rich and full. The highs are extended and silky sweet. The bass is tight and punchy. And this copy gives you more life and energy than most, by a long shot. Very few records out there give you the kind of realistic, lifelike sound you get from this pressing, particularly on side two.

This T-Label Verve LP also has the MIDRANGE MAGIC that’s missing from the 180g reissue. As good as that pressing is, this one is dramatically more REAL SOUNDING. It gives you the sense that Mel Torme is right in front of you.

He’s no longer a recording — he’s a living, breathing person. We call that “the breath of life,” and this record has it in spades. His voice is so rich, sweet, and free of any artificiality, you immediately find yourself lost in the music, because there’s no “sound” to distract you.

Verve pressings are all over the map. When you find a good one, you can be pretty sure it’s the exception, not the rule.

Val Valentin

VAL VALENTIN’S list of credits runs for days. Some high points are of course Ella and Louis and Getz/Gilberto.

Recently we played a copy of We Get Requests by the Oscar Peterson Trio that blew our mind. And we have been big fans of Mel Tormé Swings Shubert Alley for more than a decade.

Pull up his credits on Allmusic. No one I am familiar with other than Rudy Van Gelder recorded more great jazz, and in our opinion Valentin’s recordings are quiet a bit more natural sounding than Rudy’s, especially with regard to the piano.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Too Close for Comfort 
Once in Love With Amy
A Sleepin’ Bee 
On the Street Where You Live
All I Need Is a Girl 
Just in Time

Side Two

Hello Young Lovers 
The Surrey With Fringe on Top
Old Devil Moon 
Whatever Lola Wants 
Too Darn Hot 
Lonely Town

AMG Review

Though the nominal concept for Swings Shubert Alley is Broadway standards, this last moment of pure Mel Tormé brilliance swings much too fast and hard for the concept to be anything but pure swing. Of course it starts out with a bang, the punchy “Too Close for Comfort.” As with his other classic swing albums, Tormé does insert a few slower songs; here, “Once in Love with Amy,” “A Sleepin’ Bee” and “Old Devil Moon” are down-tempo — with a smile. The overall mood, however, is unrestrained enthusiasm, and it makes for an excellent record.