Various Artists

Early Morning Jazz for Lovers

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A bargain-priced CD, Early Morning Jazz for Lovers provides a soft, but not saccharine, 40 minutes of music for first thing in the morning romance. There's an interesting conglomeration of musicians represented on this disk, to say the least. From the Charlie Parker-influenced Phil Woods to the enigmatic, sometimes quirky clarinet player Pee Wee Russell. However, it is Woods who is the feature player here, with six of the ten tracks belonging to him (although on one of the tunes credited to him, "When Dreams Come True," there's just piano and no sax on the track). Woods' alto takes on a softer tone than one usually hears, appropriate for the amorous mood the music is trying to create, or to enhance. Grady Tate chips in with his pleasant, unassuming vocalizing on "And I Love Her" and "The Windmills of Your Mind" from his 1968 album Windmills of My Mind, with Herbie Hancock, on organ no less, and lots of strings. Guitarist Gabor Szabo contributes a solo on "Song of Injured Love." Pee Wee Russell's up-tempo "That Old Feeling" seems out of synch with the mood the other tunes are venturing to establish. But it is good listening anyway.

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