Deep Dive: Mel Torme, LIVE AT THE MAISONETTE
45 years ago this month, Mel Torme performed at a nightclub inside the St. Regis Hotel, and 44 years ago this month, he released the resulting recording. Between the two of ‘em, not to mention the fact that Torme has a birthday this month (on September 14), it seemed like a good excuse to take a look back at the underrated live album.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the nightclub in question, LIVE AT THE MAISONETTE was recorded in New York City, a.k.a. the location of the aforementioned St. Regis Hotel, and the album was the first one released by Torme in half a dozen years. Given the amount of time that had passed since 1969’s RAINDROPS KEEP FALLIN’ ON MY HEAD, there was definitely a demand for new material by the man known as “The Velvet Fog,” and for his fans, there’s little doubt that the recording was worth the wait.
Over the course of the eight tracks (the first track is merely an introduction), Torme bounces around the decades, starting off with one of his own tunes (“Jet Set”) and then asking the musical question “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” From there, he covers songs by – among others – Rodgers and Hart (“Mountain Greenery), Bobby Troup (“Route 66”), and Adolph Green, Betty Comden, and Julie Styne (“The Party’s Over”). There’s also an impressive Gershwin medley which netted Torme a Grammy nod, and – lest we forget – he also takes a wonderfully jazzy stab at Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.”
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Mel didn’t make his fans wait nearly as long for a new album after this one hit record store shelves: a mere wo years after the release of LIVE AT THE MAISONETTE, Torme would return with a new studio album entitled – wait for it – TORME: A NEW ALBUM.
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