No single team in Decca Records’ “phase 4” Stereo Line works harder at making records than does the “Aldrich Group” which, of course, includes the Pianist-Arranger-Conductor, Mr. Aldrich; Producers Hugh Mendl and Mark White; and Engineer Arthur “Butch” Bannister.
The planning, material selection and LP format is the precious concern of the Producers who are ever mindful of the splendid track-record of Mr. Aldrich’s previous “phase 4” LPs (both LPs “MELODY AND PERCUSSION FOR TWO PIANOS” and “RONNIE ALDRICH AND HIS TWO PIANOS” achieved hit status on the best selling charts).
The writing and performance of the final selected material rests with the talented Mr. Aldrich. But his job is more involved than just writing good arrangements and playing well; in addition, he must write within the margins set up by the hard rules of the “phase 4” stereo two-speaker system. He must alternate between two pianos, which he plays at different times; he must always be aware of multi-track problems; he must always strive to balance the piano sounds between speakers, etc.
And to realize all this technically requires the services of a top-drawer engineer; someone who lives in the world of stereo, who understands its exciting possibilities and respects its limitations — and so Mr. Bannister does, as he takes his place on the “Aldrich Team.
“The “Team” has come up with its very best LP so far: an album wonderfully alive with timeless hit songs, stunningly performed and recorded. Mr. Aldrich’s two concert grand pianos are featured with the magnificent strings of the Festival Orchestra, who supply, in the background, a curtain of splendid textures, rich and warm.
The orchestra is placed across the speakers: the violins are on the left side; the violas and cellos are on the right. Mr. Aldrich’s pianos (of course, left and right), emerging nobly and firmly in front of the strings, are captured thrillingly in a display of wonderful playing.
As the left and right speakers alternately come to life, as the piano comments grandly about some melodies, gently about others as the entire musical experience unfolds to reveal a world of taste and style, feeling and skill, you will become aware of two things: the technical excellence of the sound itself, and the perfect wedding effected between the arrangements and the songs.
For the material is truly wonderful. The list of composers reads like a “who’s who” in music: Berlin, Kern, Noble, Fain, Rodgers, Van Heusen, Young, Maxwell—and we include Mr. Aldrich, himself, who has written, especially for this album, a lovely, haunting melody called “Evening Star.”
For an album already made great by magnificent sound, wonderful arrangements and superb performances, you couldn’t ask for a more outstanding list of songs than:
The Very Thought Of You
I’ll Be Seeing You
Long Ago And Far Away
How Deep Is The Ocean
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
Stella By Starlight
Among My Souvenirs
Darn That Dream
Where Or When
Label: Decca PFS 4028