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Big-T & the Bada-Bings


Midnight Cool
The Jazz Classics Collection

The compilers of this two CD set have assembled the figureheads of classic cool to produce a heartrending, pulse-pounding selection of romantic songs. Some of selections here swing mildly and elegantly (Glenn Miller’s “String of Pearls” and Ellington’s classic “Take the A Train” are two examples), while others will get your blood racing. Lena Horne caterwauls like a feline in heat on “Old Devil Moon,” and Billie Holiday’s “A Sailboat in the Moonlight” bounces cheerily from beat to beat. But most of the tracks, like Nat King Cole’s “Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good to You” and Sinatra’s languid interpretations of “That Old Black Magic” and “As Time Goes By,” are slow, melodic renditions that are best played far past midnight, to the rhythm of rustling sheets and soft caresses, instead of out on the dance floor.


Hear Samples of
Midnight Cool

String of Pearls
Strange Fruit
Starlit Hour

(Requires Windows Media)

Blending the bluesy and the sultry, Midnight Cool maintains a nice flow. Some songs, like Holiday’s elegiac “Strange Fruit,” might seem out of place. But Billie’s keening fits nicely next to the likes of Dinah Washington, who wears her heart on her sleeve, with songs like like “Unforgettable” and “Mad About The Boy.”  The set also includes hard to find versions of songs that collectors vie for, including Ella’s high-pitched, nasal renditions of “Goodnight My Love” and “The Starlit Hour,” which were recorded in the dawning 1940s. All in all, this is a fine collection of romantic, atmospheric ballads destined to keep lovers intertwined through midnight and beyond.

- Giancarlo Davis

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