In the fall of 1961 I was recording Bobby Darin in Hollywood, and at the beginning of one of the sessions I was struck by the unusual playing ability and the infectious enthusiasm of a young saxophonist in the band which had been assembled by arranger- conductor Jimmy Haskell.
During a break in the recording, this young man walked over to the piano with Bobby and played him a song he had just written. We all fell out. His song was very good, but what impressed me even more was his very personal singing quality and the groovy arrangement implied by his blues-style piano accompaniment.
"Who are you?" I asked this man of many-faceted musical talents. I couldn't believe it when he answered Nino Tempo, because I knew of Nino Tempo only as a modern jazz tenor man who used to play way-out music at the legendary Lighthouse where Shorty Rogers, Shelly Manne and other famous West Coast jazzmen made their name.
I asked him what his plans were, and he told me that he was working out an act with his sister, and that they were about to play a series of bookings in various nightclubs around the country.
"Your sister! Really, who's your sister?" I inquired. By this time I was ready for anything.
"April Stevens!" Nino didn't know it, but the beautiful April who had already had several big hits (Teach Me Tiger, I'm In Love Again), was one of my favorite pop singers.
The next day I was in the large comfortable house of Nino and April's parents, eating the best spaghetti west of Milano (as can only be prepared by Mrs. Tempo) and listening to April and Nino's very original approach to such standards as Sweet And Lovely and Paradise, both of which were to become hits.
That's how I came to know Nino and April. And now, everyone who's follows popular music has come to know Nino and April because of their completely engaging rendition of Deep Purple.
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