True to its title, Romantic Jazz is one of Jackie Gleason's jazzier efforts. His particular brand of mood music strikes a more brassy and swinging pose here, with occasional breaks for instrumental solos that, for the most part, seem tightly composed rather than improvised. Bobby Hackett's lyrical trumpet playing is often the draw on Gleason's albums, and Romantic Jazz is no exception. Sy Oliver wrote the arrangements and begins each piece with a wall of strings to suggest Gleason's usual moody treatment, then introduces the rhythm section and brass to create a sweet band sound with occasionally boisterous passages. The results are far more energetic than a typical mood music album. The two previously unreleased bonus tracks, "I'll Never Be the Same" and "Rain," are very different from the other cuts and prominently feature a mandolin. "Rain" is a particularly interesting arrangement, and it's hard to imagine why it was originally withheld from release. Romantic Jazz was Gleason's second-highest charting album, but isn't quite mood music or jazz -- it falls somewhere in between, with the potential to appeal to the audiences of both styles of music.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Adams