Various Artists

Swingin' Jazz for Hipsters, Vol. 1

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Would someone care to explain the point of this exercise? The bachelor -pad cover art is supposed to represent some vague early-'60s space age atmosphere, the CD label is designed to look like a 45 RPM record, and the brief liner note is right out of a vintage Playboy magazine ad. One can only surmise that Concord believes that the cynics in Generation X are ready to buy jazz if it is delivered in a trendy (as of the mid-'90s) lounge package. But how does that jibe with the selection of music, which skips blithely over two decades of the Concord back catalog without a single track from the period that they are trying to evoke? (In any case, Concord wasn't around at that time anyway.) The selections are covers of pop hits as old as "Honeysuckle Rose" and as recent as "Isn't She Lovely" and "The Lady Wants to Know"; the artists include Ray Brown, Jack McDuff, Mel Tormé, Stephane Grappelli, Hendrik Meurkens, Stefan Scaggiari, Tania Maria, Ruby Braff, Ron Eschete, Ernestine Anderson, Howard Roberts and Charlie Byrd. For a concept totally unrelated to content, which itself has no unifying thought behind it, this release takes the cake.

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