Saturday, 5 July 2014

LP Artwork: Mr Top Hat

Never mind Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Mel Tormé or Vic Damone and the like, when it came to Irving Berlin - the elder statesman of the Great American Songbook genre - his favourite male vocalist was Fred Astaire. Perhaps because Mr Astaire seldom took any liberties with the songs.

Not bad for someone who did his first screen test and the verdict from a studio executive was, "Can't act. Can't sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little." The rest, as they say, is history!

The selection, Change Partners, in this week's show comes from Astaire's 1956 release, Mr Top Hat, with the ever-so-suave and relaxed cover artwork. And talk about surrounding yourself with the best: Oscar Peterson (p), Ray Brown (b), Barney Kessel (g), Alvin Stoller (d), Flip Phillips (ts) and Charlie Shavers (tpt).

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