Buying records based purely on their cover designs is something I’ve frequently regretted and yet continue to do. Then again, where the outlay is small, the regret need only be relatively inconsequential. An example is Rendezvous, a 1957 LP by Bobby Hackett I picked up for a few pounds a few months ago with a particularly appealing cover (above) so very thoroughly redolent of its time. The back of the sleeve is no less well-designed.

Hackett was a trumpeter who had played in Glenn Miller’s and Benny Goodman’s big bands, among others. By the mid-’50s he was prolifically churning out albums of retro mood music. The tunes on Rendezvous maintain a ’40s feeling, but rather than the upbeat exuberance one typically associates with that earlier era, the feeling here falls somewhere between the seductive and the sedative. The track titles suggest the progression of a romantic night out: ‘You Are Too Beautiful’, ‘Thank You For A Lovely Evening’, …, ‘We Kiss In A Shadow’, ‘Two Cigarettes In The Dark’, …, ‘The Way You Look Tonight’, ‘Moonlight Becomes You’, ‘Love Me’, ‘One Kiss’.

“But when music is part of a rendezvous” say the sleevenotes, “it has to be something special, deftly fashioned to create a quiet, after-dark mood. Such is the smooth and relaxing music on this album. The songs are comfortably familiar, with a warmth and freshness wonderfully suited to the persuasively romantic trumpet of Bobby Hackett…” - which isn’t altogether inaccurate, though any freshness that there may once have been hasn’t withstood the test of time. While undoubtedly a well-exectuted record, it’s just too blandly mellow for my taste.