“night lights” is the sort of record that cuts through you. it cuts at the superfluities, the trivialities, the bullshit that envelop everyday life. recorded in 1963, during the ascension of bossa nova into the american/european musical palette, “night lights” marries the airiness and tones of cool jazz with the feel of latin rhythm and syncopation.
not necessarily “melancholy” or “somber” or “quiet” (i mean it could be each of these things), this record just feels – it breathes, it washes over you. “night lights” opens quietly on the mulligan-penned title track with jim hall’s soft tremolo guitar floating in and out the taps of dave bailey’s hushed drums. “morning of the carnival from black orpheus” introudces the bossa nova meter. “prelude in e minor” integrates a chopin chamber melody on top that bossa meter. mulligan’s subtle baritone shines on “tell me when”.
the depth/beauty/intensity of the playing on “night lights” is remarkable. i find myself constantly coming back to this record – and, without exception, am further enriched as a musician/human being after each listening.
Reviewed by b3