Search - Various Artists :: Best of Jazz Round Midnight

Best of Jazz Round Midnight
Various Artists
Best of Jazz Round Midnight
Genres: Blues, World Music, Jazz, Pop, Broadway & Vocalists
  •  Track Listings (16) - Disc #1


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Hail Verve for an amazing Compilation
Richard LeFebvere | Chicago, Il, USA | 08/14/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Words fail me when I try to describe the emotions present in the songs on this collection. Verve has truly done masterful work in selecting songs with that certain midnight mood, that star-crossed lover, intimate feeling that jazz romance is supposed to be, all dark blue night and purple horizons. There's a vareity of feeling here, but an overall brillance that makes this worth every penny. The only problem would be length, proving that no good album is too short. Some favorites: Oscar Peterson plays "I Loves You, Porgy" with such a delicate tenderness and wistful longing that it'll make you stop whatever you're doing and just be DRAWN IN. Billie Holiday sings "Darn that Dream" near the end of her life, but there's a surprising hopefulness in this interpretation that sets it off from her gloomier side. A 1989 Joe Williams "Embraceable You" shows a different Joe than the one who scatted with Basie in the 1950s-- this Joe is more emotional and sensitive in his later years, but still not afraid to twist the melody and words in a fun, seductive way. Speaking of seductive, Ben Webster plays the Chet Baker staple "My Funny Valentine" through a smokey mist that enables the listener to hear shades of the tune never contemplated before. The underrated Prysock emotes true heartbreak with the string-backed vocal "Teardrops in the Rain." Ella and Duke work magnificently, as always: "Didn't Know about You" is probably the most romatic cut here, except maybe for Joao Gilberto's gravity-defying stroll through "O Grande Amor." The Evans/Hall and Montgomery/Smith collaborations are atmospheric and contemplative, reminiscent of autumns and lost love...Dinah Washington is one hell of a curtain-opener with "I'll Close My Eyes," alternately hopeful, bluesy, and desperate in it's longing, and it doesn't get much better than that."
Each Song is Perfect, Masterful Verve Compilation
Richard LeFebvere | Chicago, Il, USA | 08/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What we have here is a masterpiece of mood. That silky, late night mood that gives birth to all kinds of romantic thoughts--some wistful, some satisfying, some unbearably sad, lonely or even hopeful. Verve has done an incredible job of selecting a wide range of performers, songs, and time periods and succeed in making this an indispensible jazz collection. Dinah Washington's acapella notes at the beginning of the "i'll Close My Eyes" is a perfect curtain-raiser; Stephane Grapelli's short, melancholy "Souvenir de Villagen" is a perfect closing theme. Some true standouts in a collection of them: Oscar Peterson giving one of the most tender piano solos in his career on "I Loves You, Porgy," and a haunting, smokey "My Funny Valentine" from sax great Ben Webster. In the vocal deparment, Billie Holiday turns in a surprisingly upbeat "Darn That Dream" near the end of her life that actually supplies some hope amid her despair; and Joao Gilberto pleading of Brazilian love in "O Grande Amor." The Joe Williams "Embraceable You" is from 1989, and shows the blues great at a different level, more intimate and vulnerable, although he's still creatively jazzy. Other greats are the very sad duets "Maybe September" from Jimmy Smith/Wes Montgomery and "Turn out the Stars" from subtle masters Bill Evans and Jim Hall. Mel Torme's vocal group and Count Basie's orchestra work their usual mastery, and perhaps the most sublime recording is the First Lady of Song herself backed up by that greatest of jazz bands, Duke Ellington and his orchestra in "I Didn't Know About You" which is not a mistake you should make in regarding this album, which is most definetly worth knowing about."
Some Extraordinary Stuff from Verve Vaults
Richard LeFebvere | Chicago, Il, USA | 08/10/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The people at Verve Records really know how to set a mood when they make a jazz compliation album, as both the "Night Out" box set and the whole "Jazz 'Round Midnight" series prove. This is an alsum for the budget-minded jazz fan who doesn't have the cash for each selection, but Verve makes it worth every penny. There's every style of midnight music here, from wistfulness (Count Basie's "Softly With Feeling") to mounrful sadness (Wes Montgomery and Jimmy Smith's "Maybe September") and of course, romantic happiness (Ella Fitzgerald and Duke's duet on "Didn't Know About You"). There are some great standout tracks here, especially Oscar Peterson playing "I Loves You, Porgy" and making it incredibly cool and beautiful, and Ben Webster sounding mysteriously smoky and sad on "My Funny Valentine." Verve can also be commended for a diverse line-up: where else can you find Sarah Vaughn, Billie Holliday(a surprisingly upbeat "Darn that Dream')Stephane Grapelli, Joa Gilberto, Bill Evans, and Arthur Prysock in the same place? However, this means no Chet Baker or Charlie Parker, and their lack of inclusion os notable. But in the end it doesn't really matter, this is a 16-song album of great material from start to finish, and as the first song openes with Dinah Washingtoon's acapella voice rising on "I'll Close My Eyes," you'll know you made the right purchase."