Various Artists

Blue Note for Café Après-midi

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The Café Après-midi series defies conventional wisdom -- not only do these idiosyncratic mosaics of bossa nova, soft pop, and cool jazz consistently come together to create a seamless, richly atmospheric listening experience, but with each successive volume, compiler Toru Hashimoto seems to dig even deeper into the proverbial crates, discovering a wealth of timeless music that may be rare but is very well done. For this volume focusing on the inimitable jazz of the Blue Note imprint, Hashimoto goes against the grain to focus on the label's output from the late '60s and early '70s, an era much-maligned by jazz purists but much-beloved by successive generations of crate diggers and groove aficionados; the far-ranging eclecticism that is his trademark is out in full force, encompassing everything from funk to electronic jazz yet still cohering beautifully. Highlights include McCoy Tyner's "Message From the Nile," Horace Silver's "Kathy," Donald Byrd's "Elijah," and Lee Morgan's "Ca Lee So."

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