Various Artists

Latin Jazz for Lovers

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In an ideal world, a compilation titled Latin Jazz for Lovers would have offered the most essential boleros and Afro-Cuban jazz ballads that Dizzy Gillespie, Machito, Cal Tjader, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Irakere, and Poncho Sanchez ever recorded. But this compilation (which DCC assembled in 1999) isn't that stellar a release, although it does contain some enjoyable, if less than essential, material that Tjader provided in the 1960s (including "Never My Love" and a live performance of Horace Silver's "Nica's Dream"). Other 1960s recordings on Latin Jazz for Lovers are by Gary McFarland ("O Morro," "Flamingo"), Armando Peraza ("Al Bajar El Sol") and Hungarian guitarist Gabor Szabo ("Galatea's Guitar," "Ferris Wheel"). Most of the time, Latin Jazz for Lovers lives up to its title -- this is primarily a compilation of soft, romantic jazz that has either an Afro-Cuban or Brazilian influence. However, Szabo's interesting version of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David favorite "The Look of Love" has more an East European flavor, which makes it seem out of place on a Latin jazz release. But because Szabo is so creative, one is inclined to be somewhat forgiving. What isn't so easy to forgive is DCC's failure to provide any recording dates, personnel, or liner notes -- the label should have known better, and this type of laziness is simply inexcusable. But DCC's laziness doesn't make the recordings any less enjoyable. Latin Jazz for Lovers is far from the definitive compilation of romantic Latin jazz, but the material certainly isn't bad either.

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