The lounge sounds of the '50s and '60s on this compilation are very much of a piece with the other volumes of the Ultra-Lounge series. But as you'd expect from the title, the emphasis is on vintage lounge at its jazziest, with the saxophone to the fore. This isn't the kind of jazz you're going to read about in Down Beat, despite the presence of some bona fide jazzers, like Count Basie (doing the "Goldfinger" theme) and Bill Perkins; the influence of soundtrack music, pre-'50s pop standards, Latin rhythms, and bongo percussion is too strong. When you want some light lounge-jazz hybrids to unwind to after your jazz scholar friends have gone home, though, this isn't bad. Les Baxter, Nelson Riddle, and Gordon Jenkins make their expected appearances on this compilation; more surprising is the inclusion of top R&B saxophonist King Curtis, who does a pop-friendly version of Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man," and teams up with ace rock session drummer Earl Palmer on "One Mint Julep." Also worth noting are Vegas-jump blues kings Louis Prima and Sam Butera, who do a smoky version of "Harlem Nocturne."
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger