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How 'bout some jazz with that cuppa?

Cool Notes of Summer
Cool Notes of Summer
By various artists

Blue Note Records / Starbucks: 1995

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This review first appeared in the August 4, 1995 issue of the North County Blade-Citizen (now North County Times).

All right, so it's a publicity stunt for Starbucks Coffee, but this is still one of the best jazz compilations you'll ever find. A follow-up to the immensely popular spring time collection, "Blue Note Blend," "Cool Notes of Summer" is packaged with a pound of Gazebo Blend coffee and only for sale at Starbucks for the 1995 summer season. (It's also available by itself, sans coffee.)

So, slick marketing approach aside, Blue Note Records has outdone itself on this release. The artists range from Sarah Vaughan to Nat "King" Cole to Chet Baker to Peggy Lee to Art Blakey. The songs include standards like Blakey's "Moanin'" (actually written by his pianist, Bobby Timmons) and Nancy Wilson's "The Best Is Yet to Come" to obscure yet tasteful covers like Bobby Darin's swinging rendition of "Hello Dolly" or Holly Cole's "I Can See Clearly Now."

Filling out the CD are Lou Rawls, Dinah Washington, second-generation improviser T.S. Monk and young piano phenom Benny Green. It's all here, the old and the new, fast and slow. The Gazebo Blend coffee isn't bad either, if you like it strong.