I once did a corporate gig with the legendary Mel TormÃ© in Bermuda in the 80s. I think it was a conference for Borg-Warner. I was the day talent and Mel was the evening talent. We travelled to and from New York together and he was a most interesting and intelligent companion ‘on the road’. He was, of course, one of the greatest ever jazz singers famous for his mellifluous voice. His nickname was Velvet Fog. New York Times music critic Will Friedwald once said, “TormÃ© works with the most beautiful voice a man is allowed to have, and he combines it with a flawless sense of pitch.”
Friedwald also wrote the following about another legendary jazz singer, Ella Fitzgerald:
Unlike any other singer you could name, Fitzgerald has the most amazing asset in the very sound of her voice: it’s easily one of the most beautiful and sonically perfect sounds known to man. Even if she couldn’t do anything with it, the instrument that Fitzgerald starts with is dulcet and pure and breathtakingly beautiful. As Henry Pleasants has observed, she has a wider range than most opera singers, and many of the latter, including Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, are among her biggest fans. And the intonation that goes with the voice is, to put it conservatively, God-like. Fitzgerald simply exists in tune, and she hits every note that there is without the slightest trace of effort. Other singers tend to sound like they’re trying to reach up to a note – Fitzgerald always sounds like she’s already there. If anything, she’s descending from her heavenly perch and swooping down to whatever pitch she wants.
I’m blogging this because I stumbled across this video of them both scat-singing at the 1976 Grammy Awards. Wow!!