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A satisfying blend of sedate jazz

Nowhere does the standard of this
album sag, mixing as it does
emotion and sedate reflection
in a satisfying blend

In the Wee Small Hours
17 of the smoothest jazz sounds
for late night listening
Rs 100

Another collection around a theme or mood in the same series as Carnival Rhythms and After Hours. These are all jazz pieces that are soft and dreamy, romantic or reflective, in a slow tempo. There are naturally surprises from musicians whom we are used to hearing playing much faster stuff.

The first such surprise is Illinois Jacquet, who made an early reputation as a racy, loud, honking tenor saxophonist and kept it. On It's the talk of the town he is quiet, lyrical. For the trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie on Chelsea Bridge the pace is not so surprising, although his use of a big band and a largely non-be-bop interpretation could be, but this is from a masterful tribute album called A Portrait of Duke Ellington. The Ellington orchestra itself anonymously figures in A flower is a lovesome thing, credited to Johnny Hodges and offering a good example of his alto sax in its element.

The outstanding number here is the moving I remember Clifford. It's interpreted with great feeling here by Stan Getz, whose tenor sax is soft and loud by turns. Tangerine offers a contrast between the rough tenor sax texture of Coleman Hawkins and the breathy sound of Ben Webster, while the alto saxophonist Benny Carter is soft and lyrical in Street scene. Gerry Mulligan, baritone saxophonist, exchanges his famous agility for sedateness on In the wee small hours of the morning. Bill Evans on piano and Jim Hall on guitar make a delectable duo taking turns to back each other's solos on All across the city.

The varied collection also has a vibraphonist (Lionel Hampton), jazz's only harmonica player (Toots Thielemans) and one of its few violinists (Stuff Smith). Nowhere does the standard of this album sag, mixing as it does emotion and sedate reflection in a satisfying blend.


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