Eclipse Records' Café Music series covers a variety of jazz and world music, including big-band swing, Latin dance orchestras, brass-band music, romantic Spanish and Italian orchestral compositions, flamenco, and even reggae and blues. The emphasis is on mood and arrangement, not on individual artists; different volumes cover different styles and moods. The Café Music Sampler presents a ten-track cross-section from a number of volumes in the series, concentrating on orchestras and big bands especially -- swing, Latin, and romantic string selections tend to dominate. Although it doesn't create as consistent a mood or sense of place like the other volumes in the series, it's not intended to, and the variety works in its favor in this case. Overall, it's not unlike the pleasant, tasteful music one might hear in the background at a more upscale café, or one attempting to create a European or South American ambiance; this connection is played up by the inclusion of a set of coupons for coffee-related products in the CD insert.
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey