Various Artists

Easy Tempo, Vol. 6: A Cinematic Jazz Experience

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As its subtitle indicates, Easy Tempo, Vol. 6 narrows its musical focus to create "a cinematic jazz experience." The end result lives up to this aim but sacrifices a lot of the excitement that characterizes the rest of this compilation series as a result. The most appealing aspect of the Easy Tempo series is its ability to tie together a diverse group of styles (jazz, soul, Latin, etc.) underneath the lounge music banner. By restricting itself to jazz, Easy Tempo, Vol. 6 loses out on this sense of stylistic diversity. However, this doesn't mean that Easy Tempo, Vol. 6 is a less than listenable affair. In fact, it boasts a number of strong cuts that mix a strong jazz element with the slick production style that characterizes lounge music: Piero Umiliani's "Notte in Algeria" layers a percolating brass arrangement over a swinging beat from the rhythm section, and "Sally's Surf" is a Piero Piccioni cut that juxtaposes the light, spacey organ riffs that drive its melody against a gentle backdrop of light jazz rhythms. Another memorably strong cut is "Glad," a tight cover of a Traffic instrumental by the Lou Stein Trio that uses the original's gently funky groove as the basis for some exciting and adventurous jazz piano excursions. Despite these strong moments, the overall emphasis on a jazz style means that Easy Tempo Vol. 6 lacks the surprises that make the other volumes in the series so fun and appealing. The end result is a solid disc that will please lounge fans who lean towards jazz but might alienate lounge fans who are expecting the eclecticism of other Easy Tempo discs.

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