Something Cool (Capitol Jazz)
Reviewed by DJ Johnson
It was 1953 and Stan Kenton's vocalist had signed to Capitol as a solo artist. June Christy
took Kenton's arranger (Pete Rugolo) and tenor saxophonist (Bob Cooper, who was also Christy's
husband) and made a debut album that not only established her reputation as a solo act but
launched the "cool vocal jazz" movement. Something Cool has managed to stay in print, in
one form or another, ever since, and the jazz community has been the richer for it. It's
a masterpiece and nothing less.
Rugolo's orchestra is flawless, dreamy, laying down a blanket
of clouds for Christy's voice, at once the definition of cool and warmth, to drift lazily upon.
The tempo changes in "I'll Take Romance," from full swinging orchestra to a slow, lone electric
guitar, and Christy instinctively rides the tempos and moods, always knowing exactly what is
needed, exactly when to bring it down a notch and when to charge. On straight forward numbers
like "A Stranger Called The Blues," she just settles in and puts you under her spell.
amazes me most, really, is that this album was the blueprint for so much music to come, and
usually the blueprint is flawed and must be improved upon, whereas this might be the perfect
example of the genre. Okay, I know that's a risky statement and it's subjective to boot, but
find a flaw and state your case. If you're not too blissed out to remember you're looking for
This reissue has a special feature very much worth mentioning in that it gives you the album
twice: once in its original mono form and once in its reissued stereo form. There's something
to be said for each and it's fun to listen to a song in mono, then flip to the stereo version.
June Christy made a lot of very good albums, but she launched her solo career with her best,
unaware of what else she was launching.
© 2002 - DJ Johnson