Long before what's-her-name...Linda something...did that album with Nelson Riddle and everyone from Toni Tenille to Pia Zadora rushed out to make a standards album, Carly did it first and better. This is the second album in the Mike Mainieri trilogy, and a total departure for Carly. "Torch" was recorded after the break-up of her marriage to James Taylor, and every song is about unrequited love and longing. It is very intimate and personal, one of those rare works where the life of the artist fully merges with the art. Mainieri's arrangements are sparse, tight, elegant, and gorgeous, while Carly's interpretations of these classics are heartfelt and moving. Her original compositions ("Blue of Blue," "From the Heart" and "What Shall We Do with the Child") blend in seamlessly alongside the old warhorses "I Got It Bad and That Ain't Good," "Spring Is Here," and the album's triumph, "Body and Soul." "Pretty Strange" with its muted trumpet is also a knock-out as well as the Sondheim closer "Not a Day Goes By." It's all deliciously depressing, and very carthartic following a break-up. Carly's two subsequent standards albums ("My Romance" and "Film Noir") aren't in the same league, but "Torch" is among the best of her albums ("No Secrets," "Boys in the Trees," and "Hello Big Man.") Speaking of "Hello, Big Man," Carly's third Mainieri album is inexcusably out of print. Too bad.