Trumpeter and bandleader Ralph Marterie was born in Naples, Italy in 1914, his family emigrating and settling in Chicago when he was a child. He learnt trumpet and first played professionally at the age of 14. He first led a band while in the US Navy in WWII and then had his own orchestra working for ABC Radio, leading to a contract with Mercury. He played commercial, middle-of-the-road big band music, his repertoire ranging from lush pop ballads to Latin and swing-influenced material, readily embracing rock 'n' roll styles as the '50s progressed. His skill at understanding popular taste and willingness to tailor his music to what the broad swathe of middle America enjoyed listening to brought him a string of hits through the mid-1950s. This great-value 55-track 2-CD set comprises selected A & B sides for the Mercury label and for United Artists in the early 60s - he recorded prolifically, so this is very much a cherry-picked selection, which we hope gives an entertaining cross-section of his work. It features all his career chart entries, including most notably the 1954 Top 3 hit "Skokiaan" and his other Top 10 hits "Pretend" and "Caravan", not to mention his No. 13 cover version of Bill Haley's "Crazy Man Crazy". Ralph Marterie's music is tailor-made for lovers of quality orchestral music with a stylish pop flavour, and this collection offers substantial slice of it.