I’ve picked up a few records recently, as well as earmarking about a hundred to give away! I found some really nice stuff for very little money ($0.50 to $1.00) when I was in the states, and yesterday I was back in the town where I grew up, which is now lined with charity shops. I bought 5 or 6 LPs, most of which I haven’t yet auditioned. The one I did play last night was Jack Jones sings Michel Legrand. These early 70s Legrand-related albums seem to be superb.

While I enjoyed the Jack Jones (which I had been on the lookout for since I heard about his mean Scott Walker impression), it reminded me of the fantastic Nelson Riddle album I bought on my last american trip, Vive Legrand!, which I then got out and listened to until late into the night. Riddle’s superb 70s albums on MPS, Changing Colors and Communication, have recently been reissued on CD in Germany, and seem to be much more widely appreciated, perhaps due to the involvement of Claus Ogerman. But this relatively unknown album is brilliant as well. It was recorded around the same time as the German ones, but in California. It’s wonderful to hear how he updated his style from the big band arrangements of the 1950s to the easy listening/rock hybrid he presents here. There’s very prominent bass and percussion, as well as superb piano and strings. It sits very well with contemporary work by Les Baxter, as well as British arrangers like John Schroeder and John Gregory.

Other than Nelson Riddle (I realized I also have several LPs of his from the 60s, some of which are excellent), current flavours of the month are Dudley Moore (his piano jazz trio stuff is astoundingly good to my ears) and Anita Kerr. I have a feeling Anita is now a homophobic Floridian republican, which is unfortunate given what day it is today, but I can’t help enjoying her music, especially the sublime Reflect on the hits of Burt Bacharach album.

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