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MP3 Steve March Torme - inside/out

Strong vocal and melodically driven, original "pop/jazz" songs.

12 MP3 Songs in this album (56:57) !
Related styles: POP: Pop/Rock, JAZZ: Jazz-Pop

People who are interested in Steely Dan Todd Rundgren should consider this download.


I just listened to Steve March Torme''s new CD "Inside/Out". I''ve heard Steve''s jazz stuff over the years and have always been impressed with his grasp of how to pull off that very difficult music. He makes it sound easy. This CD has the man doing original stuff and applying his jazz chops to his own music and it works really well. The playing on the record, especially Gary Herbig''s always great woodwind performances, is top of the line; I''ve always loved Gary''s sound so it was no surprise when I looked and saw his name. The thing that nailed me most is the creativity of the progressions themselves and how he sings/plays through very new changes effortlessly. The lyrics are very personal and sometimes even humorous. I could go on but the cutting room floor has enough of my BS on it already. Listen to this album. You''ll like it. Bill


I simply want to say that "inside/out" is a marvelous example of a truly artistic endeavour that I am thrilled to be a part of! 

---Liane Carroll (British pianist/vocalist)
Ronnie Scotts Award and Double BBC Jazz award winner

Really enjoyed your new release, especially Smoke in the Dark, He is Me, a Different Time....well, all of it. Also thought John and Valerie was a strange and interesting song--almost an Outer Limits episode running through your head when you listen to it. The autobiographical themes in the songs also work well with my own sentiments and sense of passing time. Fine lyrics and tunes, nice instrumental work and of course great vocals
---Peter Egan (Road & Track Magazine Editor at Large and fellow musician)

To paraphrase the late Paul Harvey, welcome to the rest of the story. I feel I’ve been fortunate to be able to sing, write, and perform in a few different styles, while staying true to what I believe to be my own musical integrity. Even though my natural father Mel (I only use that phrase to distinguish him from my stepfather Hal) had an obvious genetic influence on my musicality and even though I enjoy singing “jazz” per se and at times writing in that arena, my musical influences and the artists and writers I’ve been a fan of since I was a kid, almost all come from the “pop” or “blue-eyed soul” vein.
Like millions of other kids who had an early interest in music, the first time I heard and saw The Beatles, the light bulb really lit up and I knew that that was the kind of music I wanted to listen to and eventually write and perform. As I got into my teen years and twenties, I became a big fan of Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, The Sons of Champlin, Steely Dan, Hall & Oates, The Doobie Brothers and especially Todd Rundgren, just to name a few. Besides their use of harmony and rhythm, all of these artists seem to emphasize melody in their writing and I believe that’s why when we hear their songs on the radio, new and old, they evoke certain feelings and memories that are indelible. Though Todd Rundgren has publicly stated that he could write a catchy, hook filled pop song any time he wanted to, the rest of we mortals have to work a little harder at it. His best songs in my opinion are the ones that have unexpected, melodic left turns combined with completely unique hooks, beautifully placed passing chords and some of the simply best written bridges in pop music history. Can you tell that I’ve been a fan? I’ve tried to emulate some of those traits in certain songs of mine.
It’s been very interesting and challenging to find a balance between the two worlds, performing and singing “standards” or what are commonly referred to as songs from the “Great American Songbook” and following my earliest musical instincts. Being the son of Mel Tormé and being compared to him before people even hear me sing brings its own set of challenges but I’ve always welcomed and met those.
Right before my mom passed away in December of 2005, she gave each of her five kids a cash gift to do with whatever we pleased and she told me specifically to spend it on something I wouldn’t normally buy for myself, not to spend it on paying bills. I bought my first what I call my “Ferrari” of instruments, a Martin acoustic guitar, model OM-42 Quilted Maple II. It was the prettiest and best sounding guitar in Henri’s Music store in Appleton, Wisconsin (and it was surrounded by a number of other high-end, beautifully made guitars). Two days before the birth of my second daughter Sunny, I wrote the song “Of A Child” about my newborn. My mom didn’t get to meet Sunny because of her failing health coinciding with Sunny’s due date but I know that the guitar, that song, and my daughter were meant to be connected. I then decided to take the next two years to write my first all original album (we didn’t have CDs when I wrote the first one 30 years ago) since my LP “Lucky” back in 1977. I’ve been working with my friend and musical director Steve Rawlins as a collaborator for the last few years and he and I co-wrote a number of the tunes on my first two “jazz” CDs. I wanted his input as an arranger, not to mention a second set of ears for the new project but I told him before I started that every note and lyric of this new CD would be written by me. As much as I’m proud of the “jazz” CDs I’ve recorded, I knew that I had to write something that was coming from a much more intrinsic place musically and so was born the new CD “inside/out.” There are no songs on the CD with that title but it just seemed very appropriate that all this music that was inside was finally brought out. Kind of obvious but hey, sometimes that’s the best choice.

Here are a few thoughts about how the songs on the new CD “inside/out” came to be.

“A NIGHT AT THE ZOO” was written about the L.A. nightlife scene and my model was an eatery in West L.A. that I frequented quite regularly. It’s not really fair to characterize this particular place as the “zoo” in this song, I just used its bar area as the kickoff point for the story. I lived in Los Angeles for a long time and I’m fairly familiar with the boy/girl, man/woman tango that takes place when one goes out at night and doesn’t know how the evening will turn out. I didn’t want the song to sound too cynical or judgmental. It’s more of a detached, bemused observation of a slice of life that I admit to having been part of during certain chapters of my past.

“SAY IT AIN’T SO” is just another observation made from someone who has now lived long enough to start a family and has tried to become an astute observer of human nature. The themes of hurt and regret seem to permeate this song but it’s not based on any true incidents in my own life, just feelings expressed over how I believe I’d react to these little vignettes. Does that make any sense?

“SMOKE IN THE DARK” Now, this song definitely has a story and I guess it’s up to me as to how much of it I reveal. Not that it’s just so scary interesting, but there is a personal divestiture that I’m hesitant to reveal because of whom it’s about . . . Joni Mitchell. When I drove cross country by myself a few years ago from Los Angeles to join my wife and first child (they’d flown out before me) and start our new life in the Midwest, I knew that it would take about three days and that I’d have to have music in the car that would be comforting at times, energizing at others and perhaps very personal, since this was a life changing move I was making. I put 4 or 5 of my favorite, early Joni CDs in the magazine, including “Blue,” “For The Roses,” “Hejira,” and one of the greatest records of all time “Court and Spark.” I have so many memories that are attached to and that are evoked by these songs, that by the time I was about a half an hour in singing harmony to them, which I’d done a million times before, I was close to tears. Thinking about my now past life in California and the admittedly teenage crush I’d carried for Joni for years was more emotional for me than I would’ve ever considered. It was also very cathartic for me. I know this might sound rather mawkish but certain songs of hers have spoken to me very personally for a long time, both musically and lyrically. What can I tell you?.
Anyway, I’ll now cut to the chase. When I listened to Joni’s “comeback” CD “Shine,” I had very mixed emotions. Her clear as a bell voice has been eroded by years of smoking and it’s forced her to sing in lower keys. She also seemed (and justifiably so) rather pissed off and disgusted by the state of the world and the U.S. at the time of her writing some of the songs on “Shine.” I had read about her reunion with the daughter she had to give up when she was only 21 and though that had started out well, unfortunately it became rife with complications, introducing another painful chapter in her life. In any event, I really felt compelled to compose this song and express my own feelings about her, while not turning the song into either a criticism of someone I so admire musically or conversely a sappy “tribute.” Hopefully, I’ve struck the right balance. The song is somewhat bittersweet but ends on a hopeful note. It’s filled with musical and lyrical allusions that are purposely written to expose who the subject of the song is without directly naming Joni. Fans of hers will recognize them, though I wonder how many will “get” the one guitar lick that accompanies the lyric “and when you sing of Blue.”
I sent the song to Joni’s manager for Joni to hear almost a half a year before I released the CD and as of this moment, haven’t heard anything back. If she ever hears it, I hope she’ll consider it an honest and heartfelt homage. We’ll see.

MORE THAN GONE is either about a guy telling a woman that she can’t “play” him and that he’s on to her or it’s about that same guy telling a somewhat clueless agent of the government the same thing. Works either way.

OF A CHILD was the first song written on the Martin guitar that I bought with some money that was given to me by my mom Candy. It was composed just before the birth of my second daughter and ironically, my mom’s passing. It’s one of two songs on the CD that I play that Martin guitar on. Thank you mom.

HE IS ME is about both my real father Mel and my stepfather Hal. The lyrics are more metaphorical than they are literal but it’s basically a recognition of how much I learned from both of them and how much I appreciate what they gave me. I also would like to believe that they’re both watching over my family.

IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE is a simple message: it’s never, ever too late to muster the courage to make something of your life, you just need the cajones to get started and stay the course, no matter how difficult. To quote: “ride out the wake you’re in, make it your own.” When I wrote it, I kept hearing Michael McDonald’s voice in my head and it’s still hard not to impersonate him when I sing it. Probably best that I didn’t on the record.

UNA NOCHE EN MAJORCA I wanted to have an instrumental on the CD on which I played all the guitars. You can do that when it’s your CD. I’m glad I didn’t take up the tuba as a kid.

JOHN AND VALERIE, or as my wife calls it “Benny & Joon.” Anyway, this song is a hybrid of a Todd Rundgren song called “The Ballad of Denny and Jean” and any number of those late 50’s, early 60’s teen, car crash, “drama-ramas.” It was originally just supposed to be a tale about two young people who fall in love and then end up apart but I kind of got carried away with the story and it became a sort of musical hybrid of the movies “Ghost” meets “Old Yeller.” The first person I played it for said “that’s about the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.” Guess they missed the first three weeks of this year’s “American Idol” shows. But I kid. Actually, I don’t.

STRANGER BIRDS DO FLY This was the hardest tune to write because it was the last one written for the CD and I was stuck musically and lyrically for a final tune. It was suggested that I write another “relationship” song but I didn’t want another ballad and it finally morphed into a naughty, little dance groove. The story is summed up in two lines: “most of the time it’s so right, but sometimes we know it’s so wrong.” And “stranger birds do fly, so why not you and I?” Sound familiar gang?

LOVE STREET is a straight ahead, feel good, rock n’ rolly song that’s a Valentine to my beautiful wife. Those are all the details you get on that one.

A DIFFERENT TIME is one of my favorite songs on the CD. I took my two kids to a local park in a little town that we lived in about a year ago and while they were playing in the sand and on a jungle gym, I started thinking about my own childhood, living in a small town in Westchester County, New York and how simple and safe it felt comparatively to today. I could say more about it but there’s no reason to, it’s all in the song.

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