Various Artists

Café Après-Midi: Ecru

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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. Yet more "Music for Streetwise Tokyo," Ecru is one of the best entries yet, assembling 28 hip, breezy songs originating from or directly inspired by the Brazilian music scene of the 1960s -- even the most left-field selections fit the summertime ambience perfectly. Highlights include Joyce's "Samba de Gago," Jackie & Roy's "Deus Brasileiro," Chet Baker's wonderful "Look for the Silver Lining," and Gary Lewis & the Playboys' "Green Grass."

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