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Moon Hotel Lounge Project

Into the Ojalá

(Frosty Cordial; US: 11 Jan 2011; UK: 11 Jan 2011)

Music for Hotel Lounges (And Other Noteworthy Places)

It takes a lot of cojones to write a book called 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die and then step out onto the world stage to offer up a recording of your own. That’s exactly what saxophonist and music scribe Tom Moon has gone out and done, but despite setting himself up for some expected slings and arrows as a performer tagged with that audacious book title, the results aren’t that half bad. With Into the Ojalá, Moon assembled a group of crackerjack jazz musicians from the Philadelphia area and hastily put together an album of essentially chill-out music in a span of four days, a record that was partially inspired by the upscale marble-and-glass hotel lounges the musician/author visited while on tour with his book.


In a way, Into the Ojalá is kind of a jazz-world counterpart to Ambient 1: Music for Airports, in that you could imagine this LP being played in the background of some hotel bar right in your neighbourhood. But that’s not all. This is easy-listening jazz that could also be suited for the dentist’s chair, the office elevator, the telephone while on hold, or a nice romantic evening featuring candlelight and a good home cooked meal with your significant other. Some might dismiss this album as a result, but I found myself charmed by it. Whereas my colleague here at PopMatters, Dylan Nelson, called the record in an earlier review that appeared on this website “syrupy, [and] sometimes saccharine”, I’m generally a sucker for that kind of thing. I like mid-period Chicago and Aja-era Steely Dan, which is about as lite jazz-rock as it comes. Moon and his backing band are clearly capable jazzheads, and there’s a general sense of musical competency that shines throughout the proceedings.


If this record has a bit of a failing, it’s that Moon and his sax sometimes doesn’t know when to shut up now and then – excepting for a lengthy rock guitar freak out on closing number “Rumi We’re Losing” – and move out of the way of the other bandmates taking part. However, Into the Ojalá is a nice, relaxing way to cap off a hard day at work, and, for those who don’t mind their jazz a little diluted, there is much to enjoy.

Rating:

Zachary Houle is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He has been a Pushcart Prize nominee for his short fiction, and the recipient of a writing arts grant from the City of Ottawa. He has had journalism published in SPIN magazine, The National Post (Canada), Canadian Business, OttawaShowbox.com and more. He also reviews books for bookwookie.ca.


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