The Blue Stars of France

Lullaby of Birdland

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Leading off with their mid-'50s hit "Lullaby of Birdland," this presents an accomplished and buoyant, albeit somewhat sterile, selection of a dozen songs by this jazz vocal octet. Singing entirely in French on this collection, the group offers playful, lightweight material with intricate arrangements (mostly by Blossom Dearie, who was also a member) careful to balance male and female parts and high and low voices. Although this is 1950s jazz, it's definitely the poppier side of that form, though a hint of Latin influence comes into the picture with "Mambo Italiano." There's some swing to the music, but it's a polite type, of the sort that presents a wide and wholesome grin. The tracks will remind some listeners of the 1960s records of the Swingle Singers (who had considerable popular success in Europe), which is no coincidence, as the Blue Stars of France evolved into that group.

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