Various Artists

Fire into Music, Vol. 2: The Best of Impulse!

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This sampler from the second batch of CTI re-releases displays an even wider reach than the first, with eleven headliners and a few surprising choices. To represent Freddie Hubbard's Red Clay, whose title track became one of his most famous calling cards, CBS instead chose the relatively lesser-known but still potent "Suite Sioux." A more obvious pick is the soulful title tune of Stanley Turrentine's Sugar. The selections from George Benson, Ron Carter and Jim Hall are relatively subdued, but Benson and Carter turn up again frequently and more animatedly elsewhere as part of CTI's roster of all-star sidemen. Joe Beck's proto-funk "Red Eye" with David Sanborn is the main change of pace, and we also hear worthy tracks from Milt Jackson, Hank Crawford and Kenny Burrell. Finally, Paul Desmond's gently swinging teaming with guitarist Ed Bickert on "I'm Old Fashioned" and his simpatico partnership with Chet Baker on "Tangerine" are attractive closing arguments to the brief that the CTI label made a far more valuable contribution to jazz than it is currently given credit for.

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