The Midnight Blues is the fifth installment in his ongoing Standard Time series, where he offers his own interpretations of classic American pop, jazz and blues songs. Supported by pianist Eric Reed, bassist Reginald Veal and drummer Lewis Nash, as well as a 31-piece string orchestra, he runs through a number of standards -- "The Party's Over," "It Never Entered My Mind," "Baby, Won't You Please Come Home," "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" and "My Man's Gone Now" -- which are arranged and conducted by Bob Freedman, Marsalis' longtime collaborator. The album falls somewhere between Hot House Flowers and one of the early volumes of Standard Time, as it has a lush sound but remains quite idiosyncratic and quietly adventurous in its arrangements. The result is a lovely, albeit minor, addition to Marsalis' rich catalog.
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AllMusic Review by Leo Stanley