's latest with-singers-and-strings album. It's a retro design which, like the disc it packages, was inspired by Capitol Records' distinctive jazz-inflected vocal albums of the early 1960s. Your parents got off on this stuff big time back in the day, while you were busy listening to singer Bob Dylan
and preparing for a little therapeutic rioting. But time passes and age mellows and even radicals such as Haden, in 1960 a member of the Coleman quartet which recorded the iconoclastic The Shape Of Jazz To Come (Atlantic), may eventually embrace the appeal of well-crafted songs of romance, sumptuous orchestrations and glamorous singers.
Of the Haden-led Quartet West's various albums in this preservationist, as opposed to revisionist, style, The Art Of The Song (Verve, 1999), made with singers Bill Henderson
The 12-track album is split equally between vocal and instrumental tracks, with all bar one of the vocal tracks, Jones' "Ill Wind," featuring a string orchestra arranged and conducted by Broadbent. Vocals and instrumentals are sequenced alternately, and the disc kicks off with Gardot's "If I'm Lucky." Some of the vocal material is familiar; most of it, though written by masters such as Harold Arlen/Ted Koehler, Edgar De Lange/Josef Myrow and Johnny Mercer, is less so.
On the six instrumentals, unfussily arranged by Haden, Quartet West maintain the ambiance, with concise solos from Watts, Broadbent and Green. Hank Jones