This collection is valuable for its three tracks from Jackson's January 1956 collaborations with Lucky Thompson: a snappy, elegant "They Can't Take That Away From Me"; the proto hard bop of Jackson's "Soul Ville"; and a short workout on the ballad standard "Flamingo." Thompson's sound and technical mastery put him in the pantheon of Webster, Hawkins, Byas, and Lester Young. Jackson brims with bright ideas at every turn. The rhythm section of Wade Legge (piano), Wendell Marshall (bass), and Kenny Clarke (drums) are -- no surprises here -- a classy, supporting cast. The balance of the tracks Jackson recorded with Thompson in 1956 are also superb. They can be found spread over Jackson's Roll 'Em Bags, Jackson's Ville, and The Jazz Skyline. The remaining tracks on Meet Milt Jackson burn with a dimmer light. The four tracks from a 1949 date have some good playing from Jackson and from Billy Mitchell on tenor sax, but pale next to the three lead-off numbers. There's also one inconsequential selection from a 1954 date with Jackson crooning a ballad while saxophonists Frank Morgan and Walter Benton noodle in the background. The remaining performance, Kenny Clarke's "Telefunken Blues," is a solid Basie-style blues from a 1955 session with Jackson, and Clarke, in the company of several Basie bandmembers of the day.
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AllMusic Review by Jim Todd