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Jazz is surely the coolest type of music in the world and, on this new Blue Note compilation, some of the masters of the idiom demonstrate why.
Opening with the subtle smoke of Chet Baker’s opening take on Rodgers and Hart’s "My Funny Valentine" (also featured on Chet Baker Sings for Lovers, which I also highly recommend) and closing with Cassandra Wilson’s cover of Van Morrison’s "Tupelo Honey" (ditto re: Blue Light ‘Til Dawn ), the album sashays through the ages, introducing new fans to the key players and aficionados to the cool pop side of their favorite artists. Other stand-outs include Dexter Gordon’s warm Holiday favorite "Don’t Explain," Jackie Terrasson’s appropraitely pianistic and revealing "I Fall In Love Too Easily," Julie London’s sweetly admonishing "Cry Me A River," and what may perhaps be the title track of the album, June Christy’s "Something Cool."
Missing tracks? Well, though Miles is represented through "It Never Entered My Mind," what retort is cooler in this age of "whatever" than his Kind of Blue classic "So What?" Similarly, though Ms. Nancy Wilson gets half credit for her participation in "Save Your Love for Me" (a duet with Cannonball Adderley), what song is cooler than her signature show (and heart) stopper "Guess Who I Saw Today?" Other than those tracks, though (and perhaps a few others, to be suggested by fellow fans), the album captures the true cool which is jazz in typical Blue Note fashion.
Track Listing: 1. My Funny Valentine - Chet Baker
2. It Never Entered My Mind - Miles Davis
3. (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons - Nat King Cole
4. Don't Explain - Dexter Gordon
5. Something Cool - June Christy
6. I Fall in Love Too Easily - Jacky Terrasson
7. Cry Me a River - Julie London
8. God Bless the Child - Stanley Turrentine
9. 'Round Midnight - Sarah Vaughan
10. I'm Old Fashioned - John Coltrane
11. Shadow of Your Smile - Earl Klugh
12. You Taught My Heart to Sing - Dianne Reeves
13. People - Stefon Harris
14. Save Your Love for Me - Cannonball Adderley
15. Asphalt Canyon Blues - Kenny Burrell
16. Tupelo Honey - Cassandra Wilson
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.