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Astaire, Fred - Mr Top Hat
(Verve MG-V-2010 US-56 VG+ 275:-)

"The Astaire Story" was deluxe four LP box set issued in a strictly limited edition of 1,384 copies, each one hand-signed by Astaire and the artist David Stone Martin, who contributed original drawings and paintings to the album.

"Mr Top Hat" is a selection of tracks from this 1952 session. Mr Astaire is backed by Oscar Peterson, Charlie Shavers, Flip Phillips, Barney Kessel, Ray Brown and Alvin Stoller.

Original US pressing; both sleeve and vinyl are graded VG+.
Paris, Priscilla - Priscilla loves Billy
(Happy Tiger HT-1002 US-69 EX 300:-)

Girl group alumna Priscilla Paris may not seem the logical candidate to record a collection of jazz standards identified with Billie Holiday, but listen closer to the Paris Sisters' records and beneath her breathy vocals exists a potent undercurrent of loneliness and loss. "Priscilla Loves Billy" does real justice to Holiday's spirit and brilliance, largely because Paris doesn't even attempt to match the matchless; instead, she favors the kind of light, airy pop arrangements that serve her best, teaming with arrangers Sid Feller and Don Peake to create a sweetly romantic record informed by genuine pathos and poignancy.

2nd (?) US pressing; both sleeve and vinyl are graded EX.
Sinatra, Frank - A Man and his Music
(Reprise 2F-1016 US-65 EX 800:-)

Released around his 50th birthday, "A Man and his Music" is an ambitious double-album set that provides a brief history of Sinatra's career. Instead of using the original recordings, which were made for RCA, Columbia, and Capitol, and therefore not eligible for use by his then-current label, Reprise - Sinatra re-recorded the majority of the album's songs.

Limited Edition Boxset with 3D Raised Silver Letters, 2 LP's and a 26pg Booklet with Discography. One of the rarest of Sinatra collectibles, this Deluxe Edition was produced in very limited quantities! The set originally included a signed and numbered card attached to the back - this is sadly missing from this copy...
Tormé & Frances Faye, Mel - Porgy & Bess
(Bethlehem EXLP-1 US-56 VG+ 400:-)

This three-LP box set is an unusual concept; virtually the full production of "Porgy and Bess" is re-enacted in a jazz setting.

Al "Jazzbo" Collins does a surprisingly effective narrative, and key roles are played by Mel Torme (Porgy), Frances Faye (Bess), Betty Roche (Clara), Johnny Hartman (Crown), Frank Rosolino (Jake), Joe Derise (Honey Man), Bob Dorough (Crab Man), George Kirby (Sportin' Life) and Sallie Blair (Serena).

With backing from the Bethlehem Orchestra (conducted and arranged by Russ Garcia), the Australian Jazz Quintet, the Pat Moran Quartet, and a combo headed by drummer Stan Levey, along with a cameo appearance (for the opening fanfare) by Duke Ellington's Orchestra, the results are certainly musical.

Original US 3LP Box Set; sleeve has the original handkerchief stuffed into the "back pocket".
Tormé, Mel - California Suite
(Bethlehem BCP-6016 US-57 NM 400:-)

Mel Tormé's California Suite originated in 1949 and was the first blossom of his interest in composing and expanding the palette of traditional pop beyond crooning. Recorded while he was at Capitol, the original conception was a 20-minute piece recorded with the help of arrangers Billy May and Neil Hefti plus Peggy Lee on vocals. In response to support from fans and his next label, Bethlehem, Tormé expanded California Suite to a full LP eight years later. His new friend, Marty Paich, gave the arrangements an upbeat feel, splendidly evoking the go-go '50s. Though many tracks border on that cagey territory between a pep rally and a tourism commercial, the music is bright and bouncy, with Tormé gliding over the arrangements with sheer grace and even finding time to get in an occasional dig at Californian sensibilities ("That's not smog/It's just heavy dew").