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Fred Astaire is usually cited as the most talented white dance man of the 20th Century (give or take some argument from the Gene Kelly camp). It is not so often remarked that he was no slouch as a singer, either. No less an authority than jazz vocal giant Mel Torme said of Astaire, "I feel sorry for anyone who cannot appreciate this great man's artistry as a singer". Fred made some 30 musical movies during his career and had about the same number of hit records, generally in what today would be called an MOR style. But he was very much a jazz fan. So when famous jazz producer Norman Granz invited him to record with a sextet of equally famous sidemen he was delighted to oblige. The sessions took place in Los Angeles in December 1952, Fred sang 34 songs, mainly reprising titles with which he had been previously associated such as "Putting On The Ritz", "S'Wonderful", "Cheek To Cheek", "They Can't Take That Away From Me", "I'm Putting All My Eggs In One Basket" and "The Way You Look Tonight". The results were issued on four 10" LPs which were panned at the time by the most snobbish jazz critics but have since become hugely collectable items, not just as Fredabilia but for the superb accompaniment by the all-star line-up of Charlie Shavers (trumpet), Flip Phillips (tenor sax), Oscar Peterson (piano), Barney Kessel (guitar), Ray Brown (bass) and Alvin Stoller (drums). In particular, Peterson's perfect backdrop and delightful solos are a joy throughout.
Top Customer Reviews
In 1952 he re-recorded many of the songs he had made famous in his films of the 1930's, but he sings them in a very different style, in a jazz style and backed by Oscar Peterson. His performances are very good in my opinion and the sound quality, although only mono due to age, is far far better than his 1930's recordings.
There is another issue of this CD, see ASIN: B00076SFX6 which currently is a lot more expensive, however the cheaper CD under review is less hissy than the dearer option, so certainly sounds as good if not better. Astair's voice is very forward with the backing subdued, this balance is similar on both versions, well recommended and currently a brand new bargain.
Charlie Shavers (trumpet), Flip Phillips (tenor sax), Oscar Peterson (piano), Barney Kessel (guitar), Ray Brown (bass) and Alvin Stoller (drums) accompanied Fred on the 1952 sessions.
Fred may not have been the best singer of his generation but he knew his limitations and how to work within them. He had a pleasant voice and had a good feel for a song. His other talents, particularly as a dancer, made him ideal for Hollywood musicals and it was through that medium that Fred became the original singer of many popular classics.
Fred had number one hits in America with Night and day, Cheek to cheek, I'm putting all my eggs in one basket, The way you look tonight, A fine romance, They can't take that away from me, Nice work if you can get it and Change partners. He also made the top ten with many other songs including I love Louisa, New sun in the sky, No strings, Top hat white tie and tails, Isn't this a lovely day, I'm building up to an awful letdown, Let's call the whole thing off, They all laughed, A foggy day and I used to be color blind.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A brilliant recording with some of the best jazz musicians about at the time. Unlike those who require only the "original" recording - these versions are superb the... Read morePublished on 27 Jan. 2013 by charliecat
On this CD Fred Astaire, sings, dances, chats and plays the piano, together with great musicians. If you like Fred Astaire and Jazz then I think you will enjoy this.Published on 28 Nov. 2012 by Mrs. J. Hunt