Various Artists

Talkin' Verve: With a Twist

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The Talkin' Verve series, until this point ostensibly an investigation into the roots of acid-jazz (aka another way to exploit the back catalog), took on a really strange twist with this melange of mid-century bachelor pad jazz and whatnot. Presumably aimed at the lounge music fad of the 1990s, this package bundles together jazzers like Stan Getz, Gary McFarland and Willie Bobo with pop orchestra leaders like David Carroll, Danny Davis, Quincy Jones (in his lounge disguise) and Xavier Cugat, and singers Blossom Dearie, Mel Tormé and Sammy Davis, Jr., trying to mix and match some of their kitschiest recordings. Oddly enough, there is at least a smidgen of jazz content on almost every track -- yes, even in a number by Those Fantabulous Strings (a name fit for a cheapo label like Metro), or long-forgotten characters like bandleader Bill McElhiney and organist Little Richie Varola. Oddest of all may be Getz's poker-faced blowing on Richard Hewson's James Bond soundtrack-like chart of Crosby, Stills & Nash's "Marrakesh Express," as supervised by Beatles producer George Martin (talk about a mishmash of talent). Or how about Sammy Davis' lizard-like take on "The Girl from Ipanema" with the Count Basie band -- and an alternate take at that. This release is a mutant unto itself, not quite fit for the jazz shelf and even out of place in a collection of Esquivel or Martin Denny reissues.

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