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Mr Lucky
Music Reviews

Etta Jones

Prestige OJCCD1061-2


It's always a treat when Fantasy Records pulls another vintage Etta Jones album out of what must be a magician's hat. How many more of these old Prestige recordings can there be? We hope lots. Jones still sounds great, but matching her with these great musicians in their prime, and that rich, warm yet cool Rudy Van Gelder Studio sound is about as close to a perfect marriage as one gets.

Hollar! comes closest of all these reissues to meeting the high standards set on her previous Don't Go to Strangers album. With the exception of the last track, a odd Soul/Boogaloo version of Nature Boy (that we of course like for camp reasons), there are no gimmicks. Just this glorious voice, using the minimalism of Peggy Lee, the warm whine of Billie Holiday and a sexiness all her own.

Bobby Hackett
Soft Lights and Bobby Hackett/In a Mellow Mood

Collectors Choice 72435-27460-2-6


Collectors Choice Records have been instrumental in releasing a lot of great, weird and neglected music. Can you imagine that Capitol Records has only one compilation of Keely Smith in print, despite all the interest in her renaissance and her years with Louis Prima? Can you imagine that there in not one single complete Louis Prima disc intact on Capitol? They keep coming up with the same repackaged Greatest Hits compilations over and over. We don't mean to pick only on Capitol. There are lots of fingers that need to be pointed, but we are thankful that we have Collectors Choice to right a lot of wrongs.

Their latest project that we are nuts for is this 2-LP CD by Bobby Hackett. If you like to make out in the old-fashioned way, you'll recognize Hackett as the dreamy trumpet player from the seminal Jackie Gleason albums of the 1950s like Music for Lovers Only, Music, Martinis and Memories and Music to Make You Misty.
Hackett looks like a maitre d' but often played a very sexy trumpet. On Soft Lights, the slightly better of the two albums, he gently swings his way through a perfectly pleasant set of numbers. The recording sounds somewhat live. Mellow Mood is much slicker, more of a meeting of the Gleason sound and George Shearing's cocktail jazz. The song selection is a little more interesting (Rain, Deep Night, Carefree), but it's just a bit more polished than Soft Lights. Both are sweet collections of mood music, preferably played on a fabulous oak console stereo with someone you'd like to make some time with and drinks lingering nearby.

Visit the Collectors Choice website.

Celia Cruz
Siempre Viveré
Sony Discos TRK 84132/2-498544


OK, this is it. This is the last new Celia Cruz album we buy unless she and those insipid Estafans from Miami (Gloria and Emilio, Jr.) call us and apologize. The voice is still a glorious pipeline to the heavens, yet the material she chooses to sing just keeps getting worse and worse.

There seems to be a fork in the road as far as Latin music is concerned. The rootsy natural sound of the Buena Vista Social Club series is at odds with the slick mechanical sound favored by the Miami musical Mafia and it's clear there is no middle ground between the two. Unfortunately, Celia (or her handlers) have gone the more soulless computer-rhythm route, and we can say there is absolutely nothing of value here.



The Martini rating System

Coconut Grove Media

Scientific, Accurate
& Easy To Understand!
5 Martinis = Classic
4 Martinis = Great
3 Martinis = Good
2 Martinis = Fair
1 Martini = Poor


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