I've wanted to post this for a long time, but I've never had a great quality copy. My hope was that someone would put out an upgrade on the 128 rip that's been floating around for years, but alas, to my knowledge no one had done so. Today I come to you with that same tired old rip, sad to say, but only because it's a record worth hearing even in a diminished state. If you'd rather wait until 320 kbps pop up like a little a wild strawberry, be my guest, but if the last three years are any indication, you may be in for a long wait. Or, perhaps just by my posting this or by total coincidence, someone will pony up a knockout copy.
Music to Play in the Dark is a sexy little slice of exotica flute-jazz, with a touch of beatnik cool by way of the hotel lounge. Bianchi (also known as Bob Romeo, on flute) leads a small ensemble with very Denny-esque piano (Eddie Cano, so no surprise there), nice Latin guitar with a tinge of surf (from the great Laurindo Almeida, perhaps channeling a bit of his surf sound from Lalo Schifrin's Gone With the Wave), drums by the top-notch session jazzman Alvin Stoller, percussion by Carlos Vidal Bolado (formerly of Machito's Afro-Cuban boys), and Rafael Vasquez Jr. on bass (whom I know nothing about). The album copy sums up the sound rather well, I would say:
The persuasive spell of the flute and the primitive pulsating background of timbales and bongos creates a delightful, lavish mood in which even the most modest and restrained males and females have been know to take flight to another and more exotic dimension, on a journey of mysterious and romantic sensations. With rhythmic sounds of the jungle, the excitement of Lisbon, and the strange exotic sounds of Algiers, they sway, trance-like, to and fro with glazed eyes, drunk with sound, in an emotional fantasy under the hypnotic spell of the lonely flute.
Perhaps it over-states its case just a tad. The record's promotional accolades give you a better idea of what they want to sound like (an admirable fantasy in this case) than how they actually do. This album likely won't drive you wild with amorousness and exotic hypnosis-- it's far too mild to achieve any such thing-- but it will set the mood of languor and cool with precision and grace. It sounds a lot like the rather homogenous, but utterly intriguing and atmospheric, "exotic" jazz from cinema, such as the nightclub scenes in Fellini's La Dolce Vita (or perhaps just my memory of such scenes). Give it a spin, have a martini and a sex party while wearing an Italian suit.
Album art images above from Like...Dreamsville's post on this very album (good post, link dead unfortunately). Thanks be to him for what he's done.
ALSO: Does anybody have a line on Bob Romeo's Aphrodisia? I've always wanted to hear it, but it's rare as hen's teeth apparently.