Los Angeles' Chris Montez had an early rock & roll hit with "Let's Dance" in 1962. It's considered a dance classic that is still popular today. He recorded a pile of other sides for Monogram Records in those days, and was a big hit overseas as well (on his tour of the UK, The Beatles were one of his opening acts), but none of that output is covered here - it's fairly standard early rock & roll. What came a little later is far more interesting.
Chris had a rebirth in the mid-to-late 1960s, being cast by Herb Alpert as an easy-listening, jazz-pop singer for four albums on Alpert & Jerry Moss's then-independent A&M Records from 1966-1968. Although technically not a great singer with regard to holding key, he has a pure, unaffected vocal quality that is refreshing in its straightforward way, much like Astrud Gilberto's. What's especially great is the music on his A&M Records releases. The songs are superb pop arrangements of jazz and other standards of that day and much earlier, played in a rock/pop rhythmic style by seasoned studio musicians mainly on piano, bass, drums, and guitar. The blend of styles was new, and the recording quality was excellent, sounding fresh even today.
The first three A&M albums sold moderately and contained some minor chart hits. Sales dropped off by the fourth album and A&M began moving in more of a rock direction. Chris's LPs were likely out of print by the early 1970s. Having had just one big hit early in his career, Chris's work faded into obscurity. His only known subsequent work was a fifth album on the A&M Spanish language imprint (AyM Discos) in the mid-1980s.
We are now living in the era of CD reissues, and an unsatisfying All Time Greatest collection was released in the USA, containing half Monogram and half A&M material. In Japan, where savvy music fans demand completeness and variety, all four of the 1960s A&M LPs have been reissued on CD. A digitally remastered Best Of collection is also out in Japan, but these are available only as import special orders. In the USA, you're better off hunting down the original vinyl LPs. Find these albums if you can!
ALL THE CHRIS MONTEZ LINKS I COULD FIND:
Roll mouse over pics to see album cover and back
The More I See You