Mel Tormé (with Marty Paich): Lulu's Back in Town


Lulu's Back in Town


Mel Tormé and the Marty Paich Dek-tette


Mel Tormé and the Marty Paich Dek-tette (Hollywood, January 16-17, 1956)

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Mel Tormé (vocals), Marty Paich (piano), Pete Candoli (trumpet), Don Fagerquist (trumpet), Bob Enevoldsen (trombone), Bud Shank (alto sax), Bob Cooper (tenor sax), Jack DuLong (baritone sax), Mel Lewis (drums), Red Mitchell (bass),

Vince DeRosa or John Cave (French horn), Albert Pollan (tuba)


Arranged by Marty Paich. Composed by Al Dubin & Harry Warren


Recorded: Hollywood, January 16-18, 1956


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

I've never much cared for "back in town" songs. Whether it's Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back in Town" or just Matt Dusk who has crossed over the city limits. Unless there's a court-issued restraining order, you should be able to come and go as you please. Lulu's returned (from painful confinement in an Alban Berg opera)? Wanna ask me if I care?

But Tormé and Paich take this shallow Tin Pan Alley gal and make her into a countess. The chart is smartly conceived, from the tuba pounding away on the back beats in the intro to the vocal and harmonic pyrotechnics in the coda (only the Velvet Fog could squeeze so many syllables out of the name "Lulu" -- turning it into a veritable Lulu-ululation). Along the way, we get a very accomplished vocal with all the characteristic Tormé virtues. Check the enunciation, check the intonation . . . heck, you can check the oil and the tire pressure, and you will find that everything is running on all cylinders. And don't miss Bud Shank's fine alto solo in a cool school vein. Vraiment, this was a 'Lulu' worth waiting for.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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Mel Tormé and the Marty Paich Dek-tette by Thomas Cunniffe
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