Riddle, Nelson

(Adapted from the official Nelson Riddle website biography)

Nelson Riddle was one of the greatest arrangers in the history of American popular music. He worked with many of the major pop vocalists of his day, but it was his immortal work with Frank Sinatra, particularly on the singer’s justly revered Capitol concept albums, that cemented Riddle’s enduring legacy. He was a master of mood and subtlety, and an expert at drawing out a song’s emotional subtext. He was highly versatile in terms of style, mood, and tempo, and packed his charts full of rhythmic and melodic variations and rich tonal colors that blended seamlessly behind the lead vocal line. He often wrote specifically for individual vocalists, keeping their strengths and limitations in mind and pushing them to deliver emotionally resonant performances. This is evidenced certainly in his work with Sinatra in the following quote from Charles Granata's book “Sessions with Sinatra,”: “It quickly became apparent that Riddle, of all the arrangers the singer had worked with, complemented Sinatra’s talents better than anyone else.”

Born June 1, 1921, in Oradell, NJ, Nelson Smock Riddle studied piano as a child, later switching to trombone at the age of 14. After getting out of the service, he spent 1944-1945 as a trombonist with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, also writing a couple of arrangements (Laura and I Should Care). By the end of 1946, with the help of good friend, Bob Bain, he secured a job arranging for Bob Crosby in Los Angeles. He then became a staff arranger at NBC Radio in 1947, and continued to study arranging and conducting with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco and Victor Young. Soon he was occasionally writing for Nat ‘King’ Cole, initially as a ghost arranger. However, the successes of his arrangements for Mona Lisa (1950), Unforgettable (1951), and Too Young (1951) set him on his way to doing most of Nat’s music at Capitol Records. By this time, Nelson Riddle had become conductor of the orchestra and had his name printed on the record label. He was no longer an anonymous arranger.

When Frank Sinatra signed with Capitol Records in 1953, the label encouraged him to work with the up-and-coming Riddle, who was now Capitol’s in-house arranger. Though he had helped Nat achieve his biggest hit, Mona Lisa, Sinatra was still reluctant. He soon recognized the freshness of Riddle’s approach and eventually came to regard him as his most sympathetic collaborator. The first song they cut together was I’ve Got the World on a String. When Sinatra and Riddle began to record conceptually unified albums that created consistent moods, the results were some of the finest and most celebrated albums in the history of popular music. Riddle’s work with Ella Fitzgerald on the Gershwin Song Book album set in 1959 was considered one of the most elegant and unique interpretations of a most amazing body of work.

His motion picture and television credits include The Young at Heart, High Society, Pal Joey, Paint Your Wagon, The Tender Trap, Can-Can, Li’l Abner, A Hole in the Head, The Great Gatsby (for which he received an Academy Award for musical adaptation), The Untouchables, Naked City, and Route 66, the first TV theme to become a chart-topper.

His recording career tapered off in the 1970s and early 1980s with the continuing growth of rock ‘n’ roll and electronic instruments. However, in 1983, he received a phone call from Linda Ronstadt asking him to write an arrangement for the old standard I Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out to Dry. His reply was that he would not consider writing a single arrangement, but rather a complete album. The first of his three-album collaboration with Ronstadt, What’s New, went on to become enormously popular, selling over five million copies and spending 81 weeks on the Billboard pop charts.

Riddle’s last performance was at South Street Seaport on September 13th, 1985. He died on October 6, 1985, surrounded by his six children.

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ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM JAZZ LINES PUBLICATIONS SERIES: SET OF SIX ARRANGEMENTS

Recorded by Antonio Carlos Jobim

Arranged by Claus Ogerman and Nelson Riddle, Prepared for Publication by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Six Jazz Ensemble/Studio Orchestra Arrangements

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1009

$250.00

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ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM JAZZ LINES PUBLICATIONS SERIES: SET OF SIX ARRANGEMENTS [DOWNLOAD]

Recorded by Antonio Carlos Jobim

Arranged by Claus Ogerman and Nelson Riddle, Prepared for Publication by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Six Jazz Ensemble/Studio Orchestra Arrangements

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1009DL

$250.00

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DEAN MARTIN JAZZ LINES PUBLICATIONS SERIES: COMPLETE SET OF NINE ARRANGEMENTS

Recorded by Dean Martin

Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Pete King, and Gus Levene; Prepared by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Nine Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangements With Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1013

$405.00

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DEAN MARTIN JAZZ LINES PUBLICATIONS SERIES: COMPLETE SET OF NINE ARRANGEMENTS [DOWNLOAD]

Recorded by Dean Martin

Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Pete King, and Gus Levene; Prepared by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Nine Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangements With Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1013DL

$405.00

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ELLA FITZGERALD JAZZ LINES PUBLICATIONS SERIES: TWELVE ARRANGEMENT SET

Recorded by Ella Fitzgerald

Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Billy Strayhorn, and Buddy Bregman; Prepared for Publication by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Twelve Jazz Big Band and Studio Orchestra Arrangements With Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1005

$675.00

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ELLA FITZGERALD JAZZ LINES PUBLICATIONS SERIES: TWELVE ARRANGEMENT SET [DOWNLOAD]

Recorded by Ella Fitzgerald

Arranged by Nelson Riddle; Prepared for Publication by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Twelve Jazz Big Band Arrangements With Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1005DL

$655.00

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ELLA FITZGERALD SINGS THE GEORGE AND IRA GERSHWIN SONG BOOK: JAZZ LINES PUBLICATIONS SERIES TEN ARRANGEMENT SET

Recorded by Ella Fitzgerald

Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Prepared for Publication by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Ten Jazz Big Band and Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangements With Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1037

$535.00

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FRANK SINATRA JAZZ LINES PUBLICATIONS SERIES MEGASET

Recorded by Frank Sinatra

Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Quincy Jones, Neal Hefti, Billy Byers, Sy Oliver, Johnny Mandel, and Don Costa

43 Jazz Big Band Arrangements With Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1030

$2,099.00

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FRANK SINATRA JAZZ LINES PUBLICATIONS SERIES: THIRTEEN ARRANGEMENT SET

Recorded by Frank Sinatra

Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Neal Hefti, Billy May, Quincy Jones, and Don Costa; Prepared for Publication by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Thirteen Jazz Big Band Arrangements With Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1000

$775.00

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FRANK SINATRA JAZZ LINES PUBLICATIONS STUDIO ORCHESTRA TEN ARRANGEMENT SET

Recorded by Frank Sinatra

Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Quincy Jones, and Don Costa

Ten Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangements With Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1053

$610.00

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NAT 'KING' COLE JAZZ LINES PUBLICATIONS SERIES: TEN ARRANGEMENT SET

NEWLY UPDATED FOR JUNE 2022!
Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Billy May, Dave Cavanaugh, and Pete Rugolo

Nat 'King' Cole

Ten Jazz Big Band Arrangements With Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1033

$575.00

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NELSON RIDDLE JAZZ LINES PUBLICATIONS ELEVEN ARRANGEMENT SET

As Recorded by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dean Martin

Arranged by Nelson Riddle

Eleven Jazz Big Band Arrangements/Studio Orchestra Arrangements With Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1031

$625.00

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SONGS FOR SWINGIN' LOVERS EIGHT ARRANGEMENT SET

Recorded by Frank Sinatra

Arranged by Nelson Riddle

One Jazz Big Band and Seven Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangements with Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-1061

$475.00

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'S WONDERFUL

Recorded by Ella Fitzgerald

Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Prepared by Rob DuBoff, Jeffrey Sultanof, and Dylan Canterbury

Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangement with Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-9461

$75.00

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'S WONDERFUL [DOWNLOAD]

Recorded by Ella Fitzgerald

Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Prepared by Rob DuBoff, Jeffrey Sultanof, and Dylan Canterbury

Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangement with Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-9461DL

$75.00

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View: (I'M) BIDIN' MY TIME
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(I'M) BIDIN' MY TIME

Recorded by Ella Fitzgerald

Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Prepared by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangement with Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-9415

$75.00

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(I'M) BIDIN' MY TIME [DOWNLOAD]

Recorded by Ella Fitzgerald

Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Prepared by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangement with Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-9415DL

$75.00

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View: (OUR) LOVE IS HERE TO STAY
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(OUR) LOVE IS HERE TO STAY

Recorded by Ella Fitzgerald

Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Edited by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangement with Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-9320

$75.00

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View: (OUR) LOVE IS HERE TO STAY [DOWNLOAD]
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(OUR) LOVE IS HERE TO STAY [DOWNLOAD]

Recorded by Ella Fitzgerald

Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Edited by Rob DuBoff and Jeffrey Sultanof

Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangement with Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-9320DL

$75.00

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View: AIN'T THAT A KICK IN THE HEAD
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AIN'T THAT A KICK IN THE HEAD

Recorded by Dean Martin

Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Prepared by Jeffrey Sultanof and Rob DuBoff

Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-9294

$55.00

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AIN'T THAT A KICK IN THE HEAD [DOWNLOAD]

Recorded by Dean Martin

Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Prepared by Jeffrey Sultanof and Rob DuBoff

Jazz Studio Orchestra Arrangement

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-9294DL

$55.00

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ALL OR NOTHING AT ALL

Recorded by Frank Sinatra

Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Transcribed and Adapted by Jon Harpin

Jazz Big Band Arrangement

Lush Life Music

LL-2329

$65.00

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ALL THE THINGS YOU ARE

Recorded by Ella Fitzgerald

Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Transcribed and Adapted by Myles Collins

Jazz Big Band Arrangement with Vocal

Lush Life Music

LL-2373

$65.00

Our Price: $61.75

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View: ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE
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ALMOST LIKE BEING IN LOVE

Recorded by Nat 'King' Cole

Arranged by Nelson Riddle, Prepared for Publication by Jeffrey Sultanof, Rob DuBoff, and Dylan Canterbury

Jazz Big Band Arrangement with Vocal

Jazz Lines Publications

JLP-9835

$75.00

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