Various Artists: Blue Bacharach
'Blue Bacharach', a volume in Blue Note's 'The Blue Series' (a series of thematic compilations aimed at the jazz dilletante), reveals that while Bacharach was a master tunesmith, his work was not ideally suited to jazz.
Though the cast of characters here is populated with many of Blue Note's 60's greats (Grant Green, Stanley Turrentine, Rueben Wilson) and a couple of gems from the Pacific Jazz (now owned by Blue Note's parent company, Capitol) roster (the Jazz Crusaders, Richard 'Groove' Holmes), few of the performances can be described as anything other than pleasant, almost none rising to the level of exciting jazz. In fact, much of it approaches easy listening. The kind of disposable covers of pop hitsthat increased following the end of Alfred Lion's involvement with the label (see the otherwise wonderful Hank Mobley's listless take on the Four Tops 'Reach Out (I'll Be There)'. Part of the blame can be placed on the material itself. Bacharach's tunes are among the most idiosyncratic of their day, their specific structures often preventing serious reinterpretation. As a result, only the versions of lesser know material, like the Ernie Watts Quintet's take on 'Knowing When to Leave', are unfamiliar enough to make any kind of fresh impression. The rest of the material (despite energetic work by Groove Holmes and the Jazz Crusaders) only serves to remind the listener of the original, better known versions.
The end result, though pleasant listening, is hardly representative of one of the great labels in jazz history.
Record Label: Blue Note Records