Monday, February 06, 2006

Merv and Mort say "Welcome back!" to VL

VL being Vintage Lounge, of course. And Merv and Mort being Merv Griffin and Morton Gould. An odd combo, but nothing wrong with that.

We begin with 1949's Your Kiss, which appeared as the flip side of The Merry Christmas Polka, oddly enough. The Freddy Martin band produced plenty of first-rate lounge during Merv Griffin's stay--one ultra-smooth chart after another, all superbly complimented by Griffin's mellow baritone. (You can probably tell I'm a Freddy fan.) Martin's was not the first of the smooth big bands, by any means, but his came the closest to the spirit of Mantovani and Percy Faith. Which, around this part of the Blogosphere, is something to praise:

Your Kiss, Merv Griffin with Freddy Martin and His Orchestra. (78 buried in stack; no composer credits handy!)

Next, Morton Gould's flashy and fun The Bell Fugue, composed for Paul Whiteman's eight and last Experiment in Modern Music. Needless to say, a very Raymond Scott feel to this, though more skillfully done in the Classical-content department. From the CD Paul Whiteman at Carnegie Hall, which I way-highly recommend. The works, overall, are a mixed bag, but the concert is a great historical document, and the highlights--such as this piece and Ferde Grofe's marvelous Trylon and Perisphere--are worth the price tag, I think. And, for Scott fans, there are three of his, including the interesting (however gloomy) Suicide Cliff.

Anyway, here's Mort, as superbly presented by Paul Whiteman:

The Bell Fugue (Morton Gould), from the CD Paul Whiteman at Carnegie Hall, Nostalgia Arts 303 3025, 2005. VL says, buy it--you'll love it!

Another reason to purchase the Whiteman CD: Rosa Linda shows up, performing Gershwin's Cuban Overture, which she completed following Gershwin's death in 1937! To quote Johnny Carson, I did not know that. I am impressed. Rosa is just one more musician who deserves to be much better-known.



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