The Ultimate Collection

Disc 1

  1. 's Wonderful (mono)
  2. As Time Goes By (mono)
  3. It Had To Be You
  4. Theme From Tchaikovsky's First Piano Concerto
  5. Oh, What A Beautiful Morning The Ultimate Collection
  6. Cheek To Cheek
  7. Rosalie (mono)
  8. Buttons And Bows (mono)
  9. Improvisation on Liebestraume
  10. Just One Of Those Things (mono)
  11. Brazil (mono)
  12. Deep Purple (mono)
  13. Love Me Tender
  14. Love Letters In The Sand
  15. You're The Cream In My Coffee
  16. Autumn Leaves / Just Walking In The Rain
  17. I Wish I Didn't Love You / Bewitched
  18. The Continental
  19. Lady Of Spain
  20. Kiss Of Fire

Disc 2

  1. Volare
  2. Mack The Knife
  3. This Love Of Mine
  4. You'll Never Know
  5. You Oughta Be In Pictures
  6. Invisible Tears
  7. Friendly Persuasion
  8. I'm Always Chasing Rainbows
  9. So Rare
  10. Jamaica Farewell
  11. Somewhere My Love
  12. King Of The Road
  13. Red Roses For A Blue Lady
  14. Mrs. Robinson
  15. This Is My Song
  16. Georgy Girl
  17. Hawaiian Wedding Song (mono)
  18. It Must Be Him
  19. Spanish Eyes
  20. Gentle On My Mind

Disc 3

  1. Turn Around Look At Me
  2. Angel Of The Morning
  3. Those Were The Days
  4. Do You Know The Way To San Jose
  5. Besame Mucho
  6. Mame
  7. Jean
  8. A Man Without Love
  9. Bridge Over Troubled Water
  10. Everybody's Talkin'
  11. Honey Come Back
  12. I'll Never Fall In Love Again
  13. Snowbird
  14. What Have They Done To My Song Ma?
  15. El Condor Pasa
  16. Sweet Caroline
  17. Delilah
  18. I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing
  19. Alone Again (Naturally)
  20. Playground In My Mind
  21. Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
  22. Here Comes Santa Claus
  23. Silver Bells
  24. Jingle Bells
  25. White Christmas

This three CD set was released in Australia in 2001 (Columbia 5024632000). Special thanks to Chris Couldrey for providing the details of this new compilation.

Album compilation and annotation by Mel Mayer. Sony Music Entertainment 2001.
Special thanks to Chris Bent and Sarah Reardon, Strategic Marketing, Sony Music Entertainment
Remastered by Toby Learmont at Sony Music Mastering, Huntingwood using High Density Technology.
Cover Photo: Tina Homer. Designed by Sony Music Design

CD liner notes:

Ray Conniff was born in Attleboro, Massachusetts on 6 November, 1916. Unlike Percy Faith and Andre Kostelanetz, Ray Conniff made his name as a trombonist in "The Big Band Era" which had its heyday from the 1930s until the late 1940s. During that time such names as Artie Shaw, Bunny Berrigan, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman were dominating record sales around the world. Ray Conniff featured as trombonist with Bunny Berrigan, Bob Crosby, Art Hodes and Artie Shaw.

Ray had undertaken a correspondence course to study musical arranging and at that he was quite successful. He was contracted to arrange for many of the "Big Bands." During World War II, Ray had joined the Army and upon his return to the USA he worked with the Harry James Orchestra as an arranger.

As time went by and the end of "The Big Band Era" was in sight, Ray moved his family to Hollywood. It was not long after this move that he was "discovered" by that mighty man of Columbia Records, Mitch Miller. Mitch contracted Ray as a "house" arranger. The year was 1951. The work was run of the mill until Mitch asked Ray to arrange the sound for a proposed single release titled "Band Of Gold" by Don Cherry. The result was (perhaps as expected), brilliant, and the single charted world wide as Don Cherry's biggest hit.

It was now 1956 and Ray had reached the time whereby Mitch had decided to launch Ray as a solo performer with his Orchestra. The first international LP release by Columbia with Ray Conniff was "S'Wonderful." This was the first time we would hear Ray's unusual arrangements using female voices to blend with the trumpets and male voices to blend with the saxophones. It was an instant success!

As a matter of interest, on the album "S'Wonderful" Ray used the talents of Al Caiola and Tony Mottola on guitars. These famous guitarists were later to make albums in their own right. Later came the albums "S'Marvelous" and "S'Awful Nice."

Ray Conniff's new sound continued in popularity and it was not long after that he introduced trumpeter Billy Butterfield and then his "Singers" into the recording studio. There were 25 singers in the group. Usually they consisted of 12 female voices and 13 male. This now gave Ray Conniff a choice of sounds depending on the hit song or the instrumental version he wished to create.

Between the 1950s and the 1960s a total of 25 albums were recorded. The content of these albums was mostly Conniff arrangements of world renowned "standards." It was a few months later that he began introducing current pop songs in the recording repertoire. In all cases the result was the same... instant success with the record buying public. The Conniff sounds were here to stay.

During this successful time of Columbia Records, Ray Conniff was to cut one of his biggest top selling hits. From the movie "Doctor Zhivago" the singers released "Somewhere My Love" which was adapted from "Lara's Theme." The song is still popular in the new century and proves the everlasting quality of Ray Conniff's brilliant arrangements.

In total in the USA, 51 of Ray's albums charted in the best selling lists, let alone those which made prominence in other countries of the world. To add to the continuing story, Ray Conniff recorded Christmas albums with the singers and we feature five of those tracks on CD number three of this compilation.

On occasions, Ray would "mysteriously" appear on one of his tracks... which is a little unique to say the least. "Honey Come Back" is one of those rare treats. Ray is featured as the solo artist blending in with the singers. This track can be heard on CD 3, track 11 of this compilation.

Ray Conniff is still recording and plays live concerts in many parts of the world. He is extremely popular in Japan and in South America. Wherever he may be, Ray Conniff's music will always be the pinnacle of perfection. His music will continue to entertain well into the next century.

Ray Conniff's music and albums can be summed up in 3 words... 'S Wonderful, 'S Marvelous, 'S Awful Nice.


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