Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Mellow Mood accordion meets legendary vocal jazz. In the early 1970’s, Oscar Peterson gave a demo tape to his friend Brunner- Schwer. It contained a recording of a vocal quartet from Chicago, Singers Unlimited. Enthralled by the music, the MPS chief spontaneously booked the group, which previously earned their money performing advertising jingles. For the three-man and one woman choir, it was the beginning of a successful international career. In the following years MPS produced no less than 15 albums for the vocal virtuosos. They included one LP with the Oscar Peterson Trio and three a cappella albums. In June 1973, MPS engaged accordion virtuoso Art van Damme (1920-2010) for a session with the Singers Unlimited. The American is seldom mentioned in today’s jazz literature, yet he brought the accordion, a popular instrument in folk music, into jazz. Van Damme played Benny Goodman clarinet solos on what is perceived as an unwieldy instrument; the “accordion world champion” appeared in shows with Dizzy Gillespie and Ella Fitzgerald. For the recordings with Singers Unlimited, van Damme wrote instrumental arrangements for a combo (with MPS house bassist Eberhard Weber and Swiss drummer Charly Antolini). The Singers Unlimited were recorded using the then revolutionary multitrack technology; their production was one of the most expensive MPS recordings. On the other hand, with its swinging easy-listening sound, the album was also one of the company’s best-selling.
Personnel: Art Van Damme (accordion).
Audio Mixer: Hans Georg Brunner-Schwer.
Liner Note Author: Hans Heilscher.
Photographers: Peter Shelton; Hans Harzheim.
Translator: Martin Cook.
Arranger: Les Hooper.