Various Artists – Pure Cool

Various Artists
Pure Cool
(Blue Note – 2000)
by Matthew S. Robinson

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 Chey 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 ŒTil Dawn), the album sashays through the ages, introducing new fans to the key players and aficionados to the cool pop side of their favorite artitists.

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 is perhaps 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 duuet with Cannonball Adderly), what song is cooler than her signature show (and heart) stopper “Guess Who I Saw Today?” Other than those, 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.

© 2001 M. S. Robinson, ARR