Tuesday, 28 August 2018

Julie London ‎– Julie London Sings Latin In A Satin Mood (1963)

Style: Style: Easy Listening, Vocal
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Liberty, Analogue Productions, WaxTime

A1.   Frenesi
A2.   Be Mine Tonight
A3.   Yours
A4.   Besame Mucho
A5.   Adios
A6.   Sway
B1.   Perfidia
B2.   Come Closer To Me
B3.   Amor
B4.   Magic Is The Moonlight
B5.   You Belong To My Heart
B6.   Vaya Con Dios

Exotic and Latin albums were big deals in the 1950s and early '60s, and singers as diverse as Dean Martin, Lena Horne, and Peggy Lee were recording with castanets and bongo drums. Peggy Lee was so successful at the style that she cut two albums of light pseudo-Latin jazz in 1960. Like Peggy Lee, Julie London combined a restrained vocal approach with jazz phrasing and a cool attitude with icy sex appeal. But while London had Lee's stripped-down musical approach, she just didn't share her unrelenting rhythmic vocal drive or her innate feeling for exotic rhythms. It doesn't help that London is paired with arranger Ernie Freeman, who was usually better at crafting Nashville and soft rock style charts than Latin jazz arrangements. This isn't a bad album -- London sounds casual and confident throughout -- but it is a rather bland one, and isn't blandness what these types of exotica albums are supposed to be fighting against? Latin in a Satin Mood ends up sounding exactly like what it was intended to be -- an aid to put a little vanilla Latin sparkle in suburban American bedrooms. If you want your London in the Latin style, then try her excellent Getz/Gilberto-style tribute to Cole Porter, All Through the Night. Julie London's affinity for West Coast jazz and her melancholy emotional pull were much better suited to bossa nova than to Caribbean Latin music.
Nick Dedina / AllMusic

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