Various Artists

Café Après-midi: Fume

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Café Après-midi: Fume offers perhaps the strongest evidence yet that compiler Toru Hashimoto is a mixmaster without peer: among usual suspects like Astrud Gilberto, Sergio Mendes, and Jackie & Roy, he has the audacity to include the Velvet Underground's "Femme Fatale" -- and somehow, the song's ice-queen beauty meshes with the set's otherwise breezy, sun-soaked ambience perfectly. The entire disc's unusually eclectic, even for a Café Après-midi collection -- yet again, a seemingly disparate batch of vintage bossa nova, soft pop, and cool jazz tunes come together against all odds to create a seamless, richly atmospheric listening experience. Other highlights include Chris Montez's "Call Me," the Jumping Jacques' "Love Me Now," Oscar Peterson's "Mas Que Nada," and Cal Tjader's "Maramoor."