And although there has never been an accurate definition of Cool Jazz, it is widely known as coming onto the scene in post-Bebop 50s New York with an introverted, regional touch by players like Gerry Mulligan or Chet Baker on the west coast.
Well, the compilation here includes some of the better-known classics of that genre like “Poinciana” by Ahmad Jamal or “Moanin'” by Bobby Timmons. What glues all the tracks together is a certain soulfulness, some including some R&B, others some spoken word recitations from Charles Mingus or Jack Kerouac. The tracks on display were recorded between 1956 and 1962 and there are special thrilling moments here like Mel Tormé‘s rousing “Right Now” from 1962 (one of my favorite late-night cuts while DJing in Berlin clubs in the 90s), Lyn Avalon‘s “I Walk The Streets” from 1958 or “I Love The Life I Live” by the Mose Allison Trio from 1961.
Also noteworthy is the relatively obscure recording by the not very well-known singer Ann Henry with her sexy interpretation of the Paul Francis Webster/André Previn song “Like Young” and the 1960 “Goodbye, Old Girl” by trumpet maestro Art Farmer. The song from the musical “Damn Yankees” was written by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross and comes from Farmer’s album “Art”, which was recorded at New York’s Nola Penthouse Studio. Farmer himself said in a Smithsonian Jazz Oral History interview in 1995 that “Art” was his favorite: “Sometimes things gel, and sometimes things that should gel don’t, and nobody can really anticipate it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t work. In this case, it worked.” Makes you wanna check out that album again.
It is also very pleasing to hear Etta Jones‘s cha-cha version of “Nature Boy” again – from her 1962 Prestige album “Hollar!”. One of this year’s better compilations. Just a bit puzzling for me is the inclusion of the Getz/Byrd “Desafinado” here.