Top critical review
Nice but dismissable.
on August 8, 2001
Haden's pleasant miscellany of neglected but deserving ballads is indeed a mixed bag, but somehow his focus, purpose, and method elude this listener. Neophyte writers are frequently enjoined to compose with a sharp, definitive, unified "thesis." Haden could have used a bit of coaching along these lines before producing this collection. Even drawing upon a common composer (as opposed to ranging from Kern to Rachmaninoff to public domain) might have provided the needed coherence to the project.
In any case, it's always a welcome experience to hear Shirley Horn; the revival of a touching ballad like "In Love in Vain" merits our appreciation; and though I was never a big fan of Bill Henderson (an acquired taste), he deserves to be recorded based on the evidence of this recording.
In sum, this album is more than anything else a "sampler" and should have been priced accordingly.