Various Artists

Late Night Jazz [Empire]

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Not your average collection of vintage ballad sides, Late Night Jazz spotlights several West Coast stylists on 14 rarified selections cut between the '60s and '80s. In lieu of vocals by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, we get Sue Raney singing the ultra-rare "Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams." And instead of Paul Desmond blanketing another after-hours gem with his liquid-toned alto lines, there's Bud Shank regaling listeners with his pathos-ridden yet elegiac lines and the Chamber Jazz Sextet taking a page out of Gerry Mulligan's book on "Bewitched." There are also the infrequently heard talents of clarinetist Eddie Daniels (who works out on the flute here), soprano saxophonist David Liebman, and writer/arranger Marty Paich. And lest this turns a bit too obscure, the compilers have also included stellar work by the likes of Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Chet Baker, Stan Getz, and Bob Brookmeyer. Many of the tracks were cut by the artists late in their careers, with Armstrong's twilight reading of "La Vie en Rose" being especially noteworthy. While points are taken off for the absence of any liner notes, Late Night Jazz qualifies as a solid jazz sampler best suited for the seasoned fan.

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