The popularity of compilation CDs such as Now That is What I Call Music and WOW might be owed to the duplex cultural effects of an aging population longing for Top 40 radio and the declining attention span of the youth. This confluence of influence has prompted record labels of all stripes to mine their respective archives, assembling any order of collections for release. One of the better efforts in this respect is the two-disc set from Playboy Jazz, Jazz After Dark.
Distributed by Concord Record, Jazz After Dark borrows liberally from the Concord inventory, but not exclusively so. While Monty Alexander, Gene Harris, Karrin Allyson, Stan Getz, and Charlie Byrd all show up in grand style, so do Monk, Miles, Bill Evans, Billie Holiday, and Diana Krall. Thus, the treasures of many quarters are on display in this collection.
The collection is thoughtfully put together with Disc 1 comprised of instrumental jazz and Disc 2 vocal jazz. Further, a romantic, after-hours ambiance is achieved by the careful selection of pieces. There are no real surprises here. Miles plays "My Funny Valentine," Ellington plays "Prelude to a Kiss," and Bill Evans plays "Blue in Green." On the vocal side, Karrin Allyson spins off "How Long Has This Been Going On," Diana Krall slides over "Body and Soul," and Mel Torme fogs the windows with "More than You Know." But taken as a collection, this release achieves what it sets out to achieve – to provide a single release that sets the perfect after hours jazz mood. It is a pleasant diversion from the cutting edge and a collection guaranteed to make the mainstream smile.
Track Listing: In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning; Prelude to a Kiss; Everything Happens to Me; My Funny
Valentine; Why Was I Born?; The Peacocks; Spring Is Here; Blue In Green; Angel Eyes; Corcovado;
Personnel: Miles Davis, Clark Terry, Willie Cook, Shorty Baker, Cat Anderson, Ray Nance, Warren Luening,
Jack Sheldon, Roy Eldridge- trumpet; Bob Enevoldsen- valve trombone; Lou McCreary, Quentin
Jackson, Britt Woodman- trombone; John Sanders- bass trombone; Jim Self- tuba; Johnny Hodges,
Ernie Powell, Lester Boone, Jimmy Powell, Gary Foster- alto saxophone; Russell Procope- alto
saxophone, clarinet; Jimmy Hamilton- tenor saxophone, clarinet; Frank Wess, Paul Gonsalves, Stan
Getz, Scott Hamilton, John Coltrane, Ken Peplowski- tenor saxophone; Bob Efford, Harry Carney-
baritone saxophone; Hendrik Meurkens- harmonica; Joe Pass, Howard Alden, Ron Eschet