Various Artists

Easy Tempo, Vol. 3: Further Cinematic Easy Listening Experiences

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The third volume in this highly successful Italian lounge compilation series returns the series to the eclecticism of its first volume. Subtitled "Further Cinematic Easy Listening Experiences," Easy Tempo, Vol 3 presents a collection of lounge-ish instrumentals that hang together nicely because they all share a similar fondness for Latin-inflected jazz rhythms. Although a variety of composers are represented on this disc, the two that pop up the most are Piero Piccioni and Piero Umiliani, with four and three cuts respectively. The best cuts from Piccioni are "North Pole Penguin," which effectively juxtaposes a breezy light jazz melody against a strong bossa nova beat, and "Easy Lovers," which highlights flute and saxophone gently trading melodies against a lush string backdrop. The best tracks from Umiliani are "Bob E Hellen," a catchy track that layers a jazzy male-female scat vocal duet over a track built on a staccato piano hook, and "Lady Magnolia," a cult classic that features flute and organ trading licks over a synthesizer-laced bed of gently funky rhythms. Other memorable tracks on Easy Tempo, Vol. 3 include Guido & Maurizio De Angelis' "Casa Di Moda," which weaves a lush tapestry of Spanish-style guitars atop more bossa nova-influenced rhythms, and Luis Bacalov's "Nago," a stylish track that blends female vocal chants, jazzy piano fills, and a ticklish synthesizer hook over a smooth yet funky guitar hook. All in all, Easy Tempo, Vol. 3 lacks the surprising stylistic twists of Easy Tempo, Vol. 1, but remains a stylish and consistent set of instrumentals that will please listeners with a yen for Italian lounge sounds.

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