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Route 66: That Nelson Riddle Sound

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Audio CD, July 9, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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The "Riddle sound" was a launching pad for the most popular singers of the 1950s and early 60s--Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, and Nat "King" Cole. Like the Eisenhower era from whence it came, Riddle's arrangements were brash but breezy, brimming with an amiable optimism and sense of adventure. Though they were considered music for "swingers," they remained a bit square and sweetly string driven for maximum commercial viability. On Route 66, with horn solos replacing the vocal parts, Riddle's charts fit nicely with the middlebrow savoir faire of Erich Kunzel's Cincinnati Pops. Shiny melodies like "Night and Day" and "Let's Face the Music and Dance" billow and compress with good-natured gusto, while Riddle's dynamic treatments of "I've Got You Under My Skin" and "Get Happy" are given their full range of expression. Listeners familiar with the material will inevitably miss the singers (particularly Sinatra on "Summer Wind"), but the horns nearly compensate, led by former Woody Herman trombonist Jim Pugh and supple tenor saxophonist Ken Peplowski. Finally, Will Friedwald's liner notes eloquently state the case for Riddle's mostly unsung artistry. --Britt Robson

1. Night And Day
2. Zing Went The Strings (Of My Heart)
3. September In The Rain
4. You And The Night And The Music
5. I've Got You Under My Skin
6. Let's Face The Music And Dance
7. Summer Wind
8. I Get Along Without You Very Well
9. Nice 'N' Easy
10. The Lady Is A Tramp
11. Get Happy
12. What's New
13. I'll Get By (As Long As I Have You)
14. Let Yourself Go!
15. You Are My Lucky Star
16. Lisbon Antigua (In Old Lisbon)
17. Brother John
18. Route 66

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 9, 2006)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Telarc
  • ASIN: B000044TZA
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #201,505 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By DJ Rix on January 12, 2009
Format: Audio CD
It's a fine concept, probably made for a wonderful pops theme concert, & these arrangements would be delightful encores for any orchestra. But it doesn't "get" Nelson Riddle. Riddle's sound was also built on the ace Hollywood studio musicians he used - veterans of the big bands. Riddle was known to tailor arrangements to individual players. Then there was the studio craft of the Capitol Record engineers; in the later recordings that sound featured lots of reverb & a fat bass guitar. Riddle went to the studio with an ear to recording hit instrumental singles, & he had a number of them in addition to many releases that didn't chart. Albums were assembled around them. Everything got the Riddle studio treatment, from classics of the Great American Songbook to TV themes & corny novelties. Riddle was a pop artist. So there's no strong reason to have this album when Riddle's Capitol recordings are available in their original LP form & in compilations.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 31, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Kunzel and Cincinnati Pops have made a terrific CD. They have put an new twist on the swing music of Nelson Riddle, using instrumentals in place of the vocals. I have listened to this one over and over. This is a fun CD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Big Band Leader on May 3, 2013
Format: Audio CD
This tribute to Riddle, was sincere, but the oddly balanced orchestral
recording on theis disc is a bit puzzling. Compare this to some of the
Nelson Riddle original recordings, and you'll see why at least for me,
I return to the originals over and over. I was sadly let down, not by
the quality of playing, but the lack of prominence of certain sections
of the orchestra that stood out clearly in the Riddle originals. One wonders
if a rock n' roll producer was riding herd on the mix down. There does seem
to be good work done on the adapting of vocal arrangements to an instrumental
approach on some of the tracks. But this was sabotaged somewhat by the poor
mix. Strings seem to be weakly picked up in particular. The disc badly needs
a re-mix. And fellas, if you do that, listen to the Riddle originals first !!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Thinker on February 12, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This recording is good, and if you have not heard Nelson Riddle's recordings you will probably love it. But I prefer the feeling of the recordings Nelson Riddle made. Those recordings are fantastic! And the quality of the sound on his recordings is excellent, so I see no reason for them to be redone. Still, I'm glad to see his music getting this attention.
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I've always felt that one of the special gifts of popular music of the middle decades of the 20th century had to be Nelson Riddle. That said, I had often wondered how the final recordings of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald or Nat King Cole would have turned out, had Nelson Riddle not been a vital part of their lives and their respective talents. Nelson Riddle's arrangements had a sound that no other arranger had ever created before or since. When Sinatra's voice weaved throughout the rhythms, and the harmonies of Nelson Riddle's mind, it revealed a genius never known in American popular music.

I remember hearing the thematic Capitol albums of Sinatra and Riddle of the 1950's. Their combination was a kind of pathos and intense energy during the phrasing of Sinatra's voice and interpretation, which brought out various emotions each time I listened to those albums time and time again. Their "marriage" was as emotional as voice and arrangements could ever become, bonded to the human spirit of both intense joy and sorrow as only music could evoke in our hearts and souls.

Over time, Nelson's arrangements took on a "sound" and an identification of its own, which makes "That Nelson Riddle Sound" stand on its own genius and its own joy. And while there could only be one Frank Sinatra, the added treasure of Nelson Riddle, was one of the greatest musical gifts the heavens could have given to us all.

Dana M. Kott
Palm Springs, CA
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Format: Audio CD
Nelson Riddle fans, this is the recording for you. Eighteen cuts based on the original Nelson Riddle arrangements, starting with "Night and Day," ending with "Route 66," and covering tunes such as "I've Got You under my Skin" and "The Lady Is a Tramp" along the way. Kunzel conducts a crack group of musicians, the sound quality (featuring Telarc's adaptation of DSD technology) is excellent, and even the liner notes are first-class, offering an appraisal of Riddle's place in the great musical scheme of things. Those of who are not Nelson Riddle fans might find the whole thing somewhat kitschy and boring, but then we would most likely not be buying this CD in the first place. For Riddle fans only--but to them, highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
This cd of the Telarc label invites us to enjoy the "sound Riddle" in charge of Cincinnati Pops conducted by Erich Künzel with great fidelity to the arrangements of the great orchestrator.I seem to fabulous the arrangements on the themes "Let's face the Music and Dance" and "Brother John"... simply masterful.
A beautiful cd for lovers of good jazz.
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Buy this album to add to your collection and be sure to play it while you drive west from Chicago on Route 66. This CD is a must-have for anyone wishing to explore the unique sound of the era that influenced Nelson Riddle and all of America. He would approve.
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