In a blindfold test, even the most ardent connoisseur of jazz singing and singers would, I’ll bet, be hard pressed to match this voice to that of his esteemed father. But, though they sound nothing alike, the polish, the professionalism and the passion for a solid swing tune (not to mention the ability to truly inhabit a lyric and make it sound like you’ve been comfortably, contentedly living there your whole life) is near identical. For those uninitiated with the younger Tormé (the March comes from his stepdad, ever-likable ’50s and ’60s game-show host and actor Hal March), this is a good starting point, since it combines tracks from all three of his previous discs.
Like most compilations, So Far blends the dependably good (intelligently crafted covers of “Stardust,” “Blue Skies” and “Every Time We Say Goodbye”) with a couple of clunkers (including a “Town Without Pity” that does nothing to rescue it from the Gene Pitney school of over-dramatics). But as a songwriter with a jones for retro themes, March Tormé more than makes up for them with such superior compositions as the boppin’ “Almost the Blues,” Matt Dennis-ish “Losers at Love” and Jon Hendricks-worthy “Everybody’s Doin’ It.” Oh, and dating from not long before Mel’s death in 1999, there’s also a pairing of Tormé elder and Tormé younger on a meteoric “Straighten Up and Fly Right” that proves behind the shadow of a satin lapel that these two were cut from the same musical cloth.