Various Artists: All Night Jazz
You can buy Linn Products hi-fi from Glasgow to Bombay to Tokyo, and a lot of people do. I wonder how many realise that the same company has a kid sister operation called Linn Records that believes in the same Grails: quality, precision and musicality. And one more at least - that Scottish talent is the match for anywhere else's. Periodically, the label issue samplers from their roster of predominantly folk and jazz acts, and hi-fi shops are often the easiest place to find them, because the recording, mastering and musical quality makes them ideal audiophile testers.
But please don't expect a mid-Atlantic nerd intoning: "Twenty two thousand Herz, left channel", or the sound of a cabbage being sawn in half while performing backflips off the wall behind the sofa.
Do expect immaculate hallmark performances from vocalists Carol Kidd, Ray Gelato and Claire Martin; lyrical, sophisticated smooth jazz keyboards from Tommy Smith and the under-rated Gerard Presencer; delicately inflammatory acoustic guitar inspired by Martin Taylor's passion for Django; and a glimpse of the Kane brothers (aka Hue & Cry) in plangent ballad mode. Not all the tracks are the latest recordings by the acts, and only a few of them have ruffled the airwaves or battled for racking room in HMV, but there's a coherent A&R, production and recording philosophy at work here that deserves more favour. Try one and see.
Carol Kidd - 'Round Midnight, David Newton - Angel Eyes, Claire MArtin - How Deep Is The Ocean, Tommy Smith - In a Sentimental Mood, Ray Gelato Giants - Under A Blanket Of Blue, Gerard Presencer - Married Woman, Claire Martin - Close As Pages In A Book, Hue & Cry - How Do You Repair A Heart ?, Carol Kidd - My Funny Valentine, Tommy Smith - Chelsea Bridge, Martin Taylor - Django's Dream, Claire Martin - Another Night.