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Mel Torme

Biography

The bobby socks generation knows him as the Velvet Fog for his light, smoky voice. The children of television recognize him from appearances on Night Court and Sienfeld. Jazz fans know Mel Torme as the singer who best exemplified the Cool West Coast sound. A child prodigy, Torme entered show biz at the age of three. A short stint as a big band drummer left him with a firm grasp of complex rhythms and he enjoyed a brief period as a crooning teen idol in the 1940s (film roles included). During the 1950s, Torme began a collaboration with arranger/pianist Marty Paich, and together they brought the Miles Davis/Gerry Mulligan "Birth of the Cool" sound to popular music on a series of classic albums. These remain his finest recordings, but Torme was popular during the '80s, where sold-out concert crowds were dazzled by his high-flying scat abilities and razor wit. Torme also wrote many songs, including the standard "Stranger in Town," penned when he was fifteen years old, as well as "The Christmas Song" ("...chestnuts roasting on an open fire").
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