It's a surprise just how cool this record is. Once known as "the new Bix," Bobby Hackett had moved into the softer sounds of easy listening, at least part of the time, by the time he signed with Columbia Records at the end of the 1950s. This album, recorded with conductor Glenn Osser & the Midnight Strings using Hackett's own arrangements, is a long way from Hackett's Dixieland work. Here in his forties and as busy as ever, he laid down some of the most accessibly commercial sounds of his career on this album, which was obviously aimed at the stereophile market (though a mono version also existed), with lush strings behind that amazing trumpet. What he and Osser and company do with the music of Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, Debussy, and Tchaikovsky, to name a few, won't please classical purists, but boy does it sound good -- even some of the less likely moments, such as his surprisingly inventive take on "My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice" from Saint-Saens' Samson and Delilah, one of two operatic-source adaptations here (the other is "Un Bel Di" from Puccini's Madame Butterfly). Does it sometimes cross over into near-schlock? Of course -- but Hackett's playing is so good that anyone who appreciates virtuoso trumpet work will still love this record, whether they want to admit it or not. Add it to a list of guilty pleasures and enjoy it.
Night Love Review
by Bruce Eder