Universal's straightforwardly named Cool Jazz is a no-frills collection that features nine tracks by some of the style's stars, including Charlie Parker's "Now's the Time," Wes Montgomery's "Bumpin' on Sunset," and Count Basie's "Softly With Feeling." These songs, along with Gerry Mulligan's "Sweet and Lovely" and Oscar Peterson's "West Coast Blues," help define the sound of cool jazz. Antonio Carlos Jobim's "One Note Samba" brings a bit of bossa nova to the album, while Billie Holiday's "Trav'lin' Light" adds some vocal jazz flair. Live renditions of Dave Brubeck's "Take Five" and Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald's "You Do Something to Me" don't quite measure up to the studio takes of these songs, but they do add some credibility to the set. Though it's a brief sampler, Cool Jazz does an adequate job of sketching out the genre's basic characteristics. Those wanting a more in-depth collection, however, should look elsewhere.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares