Various Artists

Jazz Lounge

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It's curious as to why the producers at N-Coded chose to label this compilation Jazz Lounge. It has little to do with what we normally think of when considering that term, evidenced by the successful collections issued by Varèse Sarabande. Essentially, this is a collection of mostly jazz tracks from established and lesser-known artists that walks the sometimes blurred line between post-bop, Latin, and contemporary jazz, with only a couple of exceptions. Arturo Sandoval's opening reading of Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" is inventive modern Latinized pop-jazz, while T.S. Monk's "A Chant for Bu" is hyper-modern post-bop. Guitarist Ronny Jordan appears with a pair of tracks here, the driving, hyper-rhythmic "Bahia Magic" and the tougher, funkier "St. Tropez" (neither of which contains laid-back, breezy south-of-the-Equator sounds), 4-Sight's "Re Evaluation" swings as hard as anything in mainstream or modern jazz, and Loston Harris' version of "Moonlight in Vermont," with its smooth jazz groove, instills a rather intense bottom-heavy approach and improvised syncopated melody to the standard. Club 1600 feature the vibes of Roy Ayers in their "Where You Want to Be." Of the more dancefloor-centric tunes, only Maysa's funked-up and drum-looped version of Gil Scott-Heron's "The Bottle" and Sammy Peralta's closer, "Jazziz," hit the clubjazz genre solidly. The real winner in this package is A Tribute to Miles Davis' nearly 12-minute "Tutu," which is long, winding, and full of compelling if subtle grooves and vamps.

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