Various Artists - Lux And Ivy Dig Crime Jazz [Righteous/Cherry Red - 2021]
Here we have the latest release in Righteous ongoing series of Lux And Ivy compilations, which see respected music journalist Dave Henderson crate-digging for 45’s. And this time around he goes even further back to the ’40s and the ’50s, to pull out some examples of noir/ crime focused jazz/ easy listening fare. The single-disc comp features twenty-four tracks, and is a good mix of the known/ lesser-known- making for a great little noir focused collection.
The CD comes presented in a see thorough jewel case- this features a colourful eight-page booklet, which takes in a three page write up about the collection from Henderson, track details( including this time around release years), and selection cover art and noir related imagery.
We kick off in great form with Henry Mancini’s main title theme for Orson Welles classic noir Touch Of Evil(1958)- which is all about dramatically swooning to bombastic horn work, tick-tock exotic percussion, and sassy sax curls. As we move on, we come to vibe darting and trumpeting trad jazz swing ‘n’ swoon of Elmer Bernstein’s “MacDougal Street Special( From Johnny Staccato score”. There’s flighty flute, scuttling jazz guitar, snaking banging drums of Chico Hamilton’s “Sweet Smell Of Successes Jazz Club” which features neat snippets of dramatic noir film dialogue.
In the second half of the comp we have Paul Hampton’s “The Two Hour Honeymoon” which kicks off with car crash sounds, before moving into the sassy horn and plodding keys jazz, all topped with smart guy spoken word detailing his short honeymoon that was cut short by him wreaking their car. We have the jiving n' swinging horn and vibes runs of Leith Stevens “Daddy Long Legs”. Or the bounding and elegant blues-tinged jazz piano runs and bonding double bass of Andre Previn’s “Like Blue”. With the comp fitting topped off with Gerry Mulligan’s “End Titles” with it shot, sharp shot of swooning sax, tip-tap percussion, piano roll, and snazzy end horn swing-out.
It's great to see Henderson expanding out the focuses/ themes of this series, and Lux And Ivy Dig Crime Jazz is another great addition to this ongoing series of comps. As always, I look forward to the next in this series, and seeing what Mr Henderson and the folks at Righteous focus on next. To buy direct head by here to buy direct from this label, that’s part of the Cherry Red family of labels.Roger Batty