It wasn’t for nothing he earned the nickname Mel Torment. Obstinate, opinionated and egotistic in the extreme, Mel Torme was, much like his buddy Buddy Rich, a relentless scrapper who sniffed at mediocrity and refused to suffer fools gladly. He was also the most accomplished male vocalist of his generation, a musician’s singer who swung cooler than Frank, looser than Nat and a whole lot hipper than Bing. After his death in June 1999, the mantle passed to Mark Murphy. Right till the end, though, Torme remained in regal form, as evidenced on nearly two dozen Concord albums, including the recently unearthed Live at the Playboy Jazz Festival (Playboy Jazz/Concord) from 1993.
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