Various Artists

Original Jazz Classics Sampler: Milestone/Galaxy

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In 1966 -- two years after Riverside, the important label that he had co-founded and helped run, folded -- Orrin Keepnews started a new venture. Right from the beginning, Milestone managed to compile a very impressive roster of artists. The 11 tracks from the Milestone vaults included on this disc span 1966-1979 and feature artists like Thad Jones, Wynton Kelly, Joe Henderson, Sonny Rollins, and Lee Konitz playing mostly straight-ahead hard bop. A few of the highlights are McCoy Tyner playing with strings on his epic "Song of the New World" from 1973, a relaxed duet between Jim Hall and Ron Carter on "St. Thomas," and a great track from Sonny Rollins' 1972 comeback record. Five tracks are also included from the archives of the Galaxy label, a label that kept a lot of giants like Chet Baker, Art Pepper, and Nat Adderley in the studio and on record. The five tracks are from the years 1977-1980 and prove that good straight-ahead jazz was not dead; you just had to know where to look for it. This collection is not as essential as one that features all the artists in their prime may have been, but it is still solid.

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