Monday, July 03, 2006
Review in Brief: Jazz For Kids - Various Artists
With its Giselle Potter-illustrated cover, the inattentive adult might be fooled into thinking that this is another Ralph's World CD. Clearly, Verve put some thought into how to market this compilation. But with Lionel Hampton, Oscar Peterson, and Ella Fitzgerald (twice!) among those heard on the disk, somebody also put at least a little thought into the music itself. The 11-track, 28-minute album is a nicely sequenced mix of jazzy renditions of children's standards (Ella's versions of "Old McDonald" and "The Muffin Man"), silly novelties (Louis Prima's "Yes! We Have No Bananas"), and other kid-friendly songs. While the presence of Hampton, Peterson, and Fitzgerald are nice, for a person like myself whose jazz knowledge is about a quarter-mile wide and a foot deep, the Louis Jordan, Blossom Dearie, and Carmen McRae tracks are pleasant discoveries. (And while Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" doesn't really fit the swinging attitude of the rest of the tracks, it's a great cut, so we'll let it slide.) If I had any qualms with the disk it would be: a) I wish a disk entitled "Jazz for Kids" would have more than one semi-instrumental track (Peterson's boppy "Mumbles"), and b) I wish the disk's liner notes would've been seriously upgraded, giving more than just each track's title, artist, and release date. But as a whole, this is a pleasant collection of vocal jazz tracks from the mid-20th century and should please even those proclaiming to be allergic to jazz. Recommended.
Posted by Stefan at 8:21 PM