Various Artists

RCA Victor Jazz: The First Half-Century - The Twenties Through the Sixties

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RCA has long had an up-and-down relationship with jazz and that is reflected in this very interesting five-CD boxed set drawn completely from their archives. Each disc focuses on a specific decade and the producers did an excellent job of picking representative recordings. The 1920s and '30s are covered particularly well (with 23 selections on each disc); virtually every major name is heard at their prime. The 1940s disc also contains many valuable recordings (although RCA had been slow to record bop), but by the '50s and '60s RCA was not in the forefront of discovering up-and-coming artists; there are only hints of the avant-garde and many of the giants (Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk to name three) never made it into the label's studios. However, even in the later decades, a variety of great veterans and modernists did make significant recordings for the label and there is not a loser among the 96 recordings. Overall this reissue gives one a superb overview of RCA jazz activities through the years (from Coleman Hawkins's "Body and Soul" to Sonny Rollins's "The Bridge") and is recommended to all jazz historians along with beginners just starting to explore this classic music.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:09
2 3:11
3 2:52
4 3:03
5 3:08
6 3:17
7 3:41
8 3:10
9 2:46
10 2:57
11
2:50
12 3:08
13 2:44
14 2:55
15 3:05
16 2:25
17 3:01
18 3:09
19 3:22
20 3:28
21 3:17
22 3:28
23 2:33

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:23
2 2:57
3 3:23
4 3:18
5 3:08
6 2:38
7
3:06
8
2:19
9 3:24
10 3:07
11 3:11
12 3:28
13 3:03
14 2:55
15 3:03
16 2:46
17 2:59
18 3:06
19 3:34
20 3:15
21 2:44
22 4:43
23 3:01

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:14
2 3:17
3 3:10
4 3:03
5 2:55
6 3:37
7 3:03
8 3:04
9 2:39
10 2:51
11 3:01
12 2:54
13 3:07
14 2:38
15 3:27
16 5:00
17 3:19
18 2:45
19 2:35
20 2:50
21 2:51
22 2:56
23 2:58
blue highlight denotes track pick