Following the debut of its first jazz album a year ago, EMI packs even more well known hits into the second album, ranging from the all-too-familiar theme song from summer blockbuster Inception and Stacey Kent's What a Wonderful World, to Olivia Ong's First of May and Jason Mraz's Rainbow Connection.
The album is a great starting point for jazz newbies to explore from. Strictly speaking, some of the tracks are not so much traditional jazz as popular tunes with a jazzy vibe. This is a minor set-back, though, which is outweighed by the variety and uplifting quality of songs.
The opening track is Edith Piaf's Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien ("No, I regret nothing" in French), an elegantly phrased, spirited tune which features heavily in Inception. Other top picks include Kei Kobayashi's I Concentrate on You and But Not for Me by Natalie Merchant, which show off the singers' natural storytelling style, superbly accompanied by percussion, saxophones and rich-sounding piano solos.
Mraz and Piaf may be the biggest names here, but there are plenty of other singers giving touching interpretations of jazz standards which should convert even doubtful listeners.