Mel Torme & The Marty Paich Dek-tette: Lullaby Of Birdland
Lullaby Of Birdland
Mel Tormé and the Marty Paich Dek-tette (aka Lulu's Back In Town) (Bethlehem 75732)
The Marty Paich Dek-tette: Pete Candoli, Don Fagerquist (trumpets); Bob Enevoldsen (valve trombone, tenor sax), Vince DeRosa or John Cave (french horn), Al Pollan (tuba), Bud Shank (alto sax, tenor sax), Bob Cooper or Jack Montrose (tenor sax), Jack DuLong (baritone sax), Red Mitchell (bass), Mel Lewis (drums).
Composed by George Shearing.
Recorded: Los Angeles, January 1956
Rating: 95/100 (learn more)
"Lullaby of Birdland" is an anomaly in the recordings of Mel Tormé and the Marty Paich Dek-tette. Although Mel's scat singing was prominently featured on the Reunion albums of the late 1980s, "Lullaby" was the only cut from the original set of recordings to feature a scat solo. At nearly 5 minutes, "Lullaby" was the longest track on the first Dek-tette LP, and it features Mel's scatting for most of its length. It starts with Mel and Red Mitchell in duet with Mel Lewis joining in at the bridge. As Tormé starts scatting, the saxes enter, backing the singer with a unison figure. As usual with Tormé, his improvisations are an even mix of original ideas and song quotes, but he puts the ideas together so skillfully, the listener loses track of each idea's paternity. In the next chorus, Torm� trades ideas with Pete Candoli, Don Fagerquist and Bob Enevoldsen (the latter on valve trombone - for the moment). Then the saxes return (with Enevoldsen on tenor) with a tightly-arranged figure, to which Tormé offers a scatted response. The figure is repeated for the next 8 bars. The sax figure is a Paich self-quote - it was originally the introduction for his arrangement of "You.re My Thrill", written for a Shelly Manne LP a couple of years earlier. Tormé said that hearing that recording inspired him to work with Paich. As an acknowledgement of that inspiration, Paich included the figure in the "Lullaby" arrangement. After a brass-dominated bridge, we return to Tormé, Mitchell and Lewis with a short reprise of the opening chorus. Lewis drops out after 8 bars as Tormé and Mitchell fade into the distance.
Reviewer: Thomas Cunniffe