Norm Amadio Trio + Tommy Ambrose: After Hours 1966
(Panda Digital 2021)
Re-enter the smoky, late night jazz scene of the mid-1960s in hip style with this recent release from Panda Digital. It's a trip back in time to February 1966 at The Cellar club in Toronto. Producer Andrew A. Meltzer (then a 20 year old songwriter) began to record the Norm Amadio Trio with vocalist Tommy Ambrose at 3 a.m., right after their gig.
The recording captures the easy fluidity of a jazz trio in the zone, with the smooth vocals of Ambrose to add icing to the cake. It's that late, late night vibe, that time of night when there's only one last couple left on the dance floor clinging to each other as they sway to the music. The recording is lovely and organic, the playing tight and loose.
All the songs on the album were written by Meltzer, who was already a firm fan of Norm's when he brought him the lead sheets for a few of his songs. Amadio agreed to make a date to record them in the club, and hence the recording was made. The band consisted of Amadio on piano, Bob Price on bass, and Stan Perry on drums, along with Tommy Ambrose's vocals.
The Skies is a standout instrumental track, with its crisp pace. You're The One for Me has a great slow and sexy vibe. As it happens, This Is The Last Time, with music by Meltzer and lyrics by George Jonas, was recently featured on Netflix's Riverdale.
When Norm Amadio was just 17, he was studying classical piano with Boris Berlin at the RCM by day, and playing jazz after hours by night. Born in 1928, he was a key figure in introducing bebop jazz to Toronto's music scene, and drew jazz stars from all over North America to sit in on the late night jams that became famous in the 1940s to 1960s. He played with Stan Getz, Roy Eldridge, Coleman Hawkins, Chet Baker, Dinah Washington, and many other classic jazz greats.
Amadio also worked with CBC television, and the Musical Director for the weekly show Music Hop, along with leading the band for many series, including The Tommy Ambrose Show. Norm recorded his last album in 2009, and passed away in 2020.