Duke Ellington & Count Basie Songbook
by Mel Torme
Released: Oct 1996
Label: Verve Records
Like most jazz/pop performers of his generation, Mel Torme was forever in debt to the amazing big bands of Duke Ellington and Count Basie. Here, Torme pays tribute to both with help from gifted arranger Johnny Mandel (who made his bones writing for Basie). Torme is flexible and swinging, and Mandel's modernistic charts bring out new elements in Ellington staples (tracks 1-6) and Basie selections (cuts 7-12). Torme's versions of "Blue & Sentimental" and "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" are definitive. This was originally issued with the hipper title I Dig the Duke, I Dig the Count.