For those who like their after-hours ambience fueled by vintage jazz ballads, this Verve collection is an essential accouterment. Staying consistent with many of the label's other excellent 'Round Midnight titles -- which include both individual artist discs and various-artists compilations -- this ballads sampler features only first-tier material by jazz's top talent. On the vocal side, there's fine work by Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Mel Tormé, and Ella Fitzgerald. Thankfully, for variety's sake, the disc also has equally stunning performances by the relatively obscure likes of Shirley Horn, Arthur Prysock, Blossom Dearie, and Billy Henderson. There are plenty of fine instrumentals, too, including sides by Bill Evans, Johnny Hodges, Oscar Peterson, and Ben Webster. An excellent sampler that will work perfectly as an introductory disc for jazz newcomers.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook