In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
Ray Conniff was born on November 6, 1916, in Attleboro, Massachusetts. Ray was exposed to music at an early age, his father was the leader/trombonist of the local Jewelry City Band and his mother played the piano. As a junior in Attleboro High School, Ray and some of his buddies decided to start a dance orchestra. Taking some musical tips from his father, Ray started practicing trombone and wound up playing first trombone for the band. It was for this group that Ray did his first arrangement, his fellow musicians loved his interpretation of "Sweet Georgia Brown."
With the onslaught of World War ll, Ray spent two years with the United States Army arranging for the Armed Forces Radio Services in Hollywood. He was discharged in 1946 and began arranging for Harry James. When "be-bop" hit the musical scene in the late 40's, Ray, whose musical tastes did not connect with "bop", stopped arranging for a while. This break brought on some hard times for Ray, both emotionally and financially. During this period, he taught himself how to conduct, involved himself in an exhaustive study of hit recordings and developed what he believed to be a "magic formula" of arranging.
In the early 50's, the big break in Ray's career happened when he met Mitch Miller of Columbia Records, who hired him as an arranger. In 1955, Ray got his first chance to try out his sure-fire theory of arranging. The lucky record was Don Cherry's "Band Of Gold." Ray's success arranging and conducting for other recording artists prompted Columbia to let him record an album under his own name, he was the first artist to use voices and vocal arranging as part of the instrumentation, for instance, female voices double with trumpets, high saxes or clarinets; male voices with trombones or saxes in low register. Ray's debut album "'S Wonderful", was in the Top 20 for nine months.
By the early 60's Ray's record sales were booming. The Ray Conniff Orchestra and Singers were in great demand. Ray, who prides himself on being able to produce live in concert the same sound created on recordings, brought to the public the first live stereo concert ever to take place in the world. The audiences experienced the sensation of three channel stereo being transmitted throughout the concert hall with the aid of an elaborate stereo sound system. Critics hailed the concert as the "musical event of the 60's." Ray presented his "Concert In Stereo" on US American TV, with ensuing tours through the USA, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He also played to great acclaim at the Sahara-Tahoe Hotel in Lake Tahoe and the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas. During this time, Ray had the chorus step out of the orchestra and they gained fame in their own right, singing the lyrics and they became known as the "Ray Conniff Singers."
Ray survived in the music business for over 65 years, he recorded over 100 albums and sold over 70 million albums, cassettes and CD's. He was the proud recipient of a Grammy Award for his recording of "Somewhere My Love", two Grammy nominations, over 10 gold albums, 2 platinum albums ("Somewhere My Love" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"), CBS Records-Best Selling Artist for 1962 Award and countless international awards. On 12th October 2002 Ray Conniff passed away in San Diego.
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Review: Another fine selection of traditional Christmas carols sung in the Inimitable Ray Conniff style.
Songlist: White Christmas, Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town, Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Winter Wonderland, Jingle Bells, Frosty The Snowman, Silent Night, Holy Night, Silver Bells, O Little Town Of Bethlehem, O Tennenbaum, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen, Joy To The World, Here Comes Santa Claus, Sleigh Ride, The Christmas Song (Merry Christmas To You), The Twelve Days Of Christmas, Medley: The First Noel, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, O Come, All Ye Faithful, We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Review: 'Ray Conniff,' we were thinking as we opened 'Christmas With,' 'elevator music.' Then we played the CD, and found ourselves flooded with memories of what Christmas was like for us, growing up in the 50's and 60's. The smell of hot roasted nuts and fresh chocolates at the bustling five and dime as we stepped into the warmth out of a snowstorm, and what was playing in the background was Conniff's 'Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.' There are 12 delightful songs here, each lightly (and jazzily) accompanied, and each arranged by Mr. Conniff in his inimitable manner, using the voices as the main focus of the orchestral fabric, and gaining special inspiration from the cheery character that most of the songs have. Of course there are ballads like the classic 'Silver Bells,' the romantic 'Christmas Song,' 'Greensleeves' and 'White Christmas,' but most of the songs, 'Here Comes Santa Claus,' 'Winter Wonderland,' 'Frosty The Snowman,' 'Sleigh Ride' and 'Christmas Bride,' are as bright, innocent and jolly as befits a Christmas dancing party. We loved every cut and bet you will too!
Songlist: Jingle Bells, Silver Bells, Frosty the Snowman , White Christmas , Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town, The Christmas Song, Here Comes Santa Claus , Winter Wonderland, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Christmas Bride, Sleigh Ride, Greensleeves (What Child Is This?)
It Came Across a Midnight Clear
Review: Previously released as a Columbia LP that was probably pulled out and played to distraction every Christmas thereafter, this reissue captures the joyous innocence and cheer of Christmas in the 50's and 60's like the tiny flakes in a snow globe. Each of these 12, all lightly accompanied songs has 'Arr: R. Conniff' under them, and it's physically impossible to feel sad while listening to a Conniff arrangement. The title tune, 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,' 'Joy To The World,' 'Go Tell It On The Mountain,' 'O Tannenbaum' and 'O Little Town Of Bethlehem' are given upbeat, jazzy-pop tempos, while 'Silent Night,' 'Away In A Manger,' 'Adoremus Te,' 'The Real Meaning of Christmas,' 'What Child Is This' and 'It Came Upon A Midnight Clear' are slower ballads. The Singers' sound is bright, sweet and sincere-exactly how we like it!
Songlist: Here We Come A-Caroling, Silent Night, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Away in a Manger, Joy to the World , Adoramus Te, The Real Meaning of Christmas, Go Tell It on the Mountain, What Child Is This? , O Tannenbaum, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear, O Little Town of Bethlehem
Review: A great twofer featuring two original LPs on this one CD. With such classics as 'Buttons & Bow', 'Let's Put Out The Lights' and 'They Say It's Wonderful' this will be a great addition to your collection.
Songlist: It's The Talk Of The Town, You're An Old Smoothie, Buttons & Bows, Let's Put Out The Lights, It's Been A Long, Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Deep In The Heart Of Texa, Love Is The Sweetest Thin, They Say It's Wonderful, Hands Across The Table, My Heart Cries For You, Rosalie, Remember, You'll Never Know, Dancing With Tears In My, I'm In The Mood For Love, I'll Be Seeing You, It's Dark On Observatory, These Foolish Things (Rem, He's Making Eyes At Me, Young At Heart, If I Loved You, Harbour Lights, I'll See You In My Dreams
Review: 'So Much In Love' offers a refreshing and different Conniff singers step out from the orchestra to sing twelve great love songs which are paired off so that eachmedley tells a musical story about people who are 'so much in love.' For example, in the first medley, the girls sing the nostalgic 'Autumn Leaves,' recalling a lost or distant love. The men answer with 'Just Walking In The Rain,' as they find themselves in the same situation.
Songlist: Autumn Leaves / Just Walking In The Rain, I Fall In Love Too Easily / My Heart Stood Still, Dancing On The Ceiling / Dancing In The Dark, I Wish I Didn't Love You So / Bewitched, Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera) / True Love, Chances Are / It's Not For Me To Say
Review: In this collection, Ray has grouped most of the songs into medleys which tell a musical story about this holidays of holidays.
Songlist: Medley: Jolly Old St. Nicholas, The Little Drummer Boy, Medley: O Holy Night, We Three Kings Of Orient Are, Deck The Hall With Boughs Of Holly, Ring Christmas Bells, Medley: Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!, Count Your Blessings (Instead Of Sheep), We Wish You A Merry Christmas, Medley: The First Noel, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, O Come, All Ye Faithful, We Wish You A Merry Christmas