Coffee retail leviathan Starbucks is the K-Tel of the new millennium, assembling thematic compilations of songs that span musical genres but never stray far from the middle of the road -- like K-Tel, they cater to a demographic either too lazy or too distracted to enter an actual record store, thereby targeting consumers who prefer their music spoon-fed in lieu of seeking it out themselves. Assembling a dozen tracks from the Verve archives, Hot Java Jazz is essentially a primer for listeners with few or no jazz records in their collections, with a roster that spans from Billie Holiday ("Comes Love") to Nina Simone ("My Baby Just Cares for Me") to Bud Powell ("Dance of the Infidels"). It's hard to quibble with the music itself, but there's something unseemly about the package as a whole. But if you like your music with a corporate stamp and seal of approved, have at it, latté lover.
AllMusic Review by Jason Ankeny