Various Artists

The Golden Age of Swing: Twenty Greatest Hits

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For those looking for an inexpensive single-disc compilation of swing hits by its best-known practitioners, this disc is one of the better ones. The balance on the more laid-back aspects of the genre is met with some solid stompers by Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, and others. Of course, both Dorsey Brothers, Artie Shaw, and Benny Goodman are here -- how could they not be? -- but this set on the Delta imprint relies far more heavily on offering a musical portrait of the entire scene rather than just giving you the truly obvious hits. There isn't anything rare here, but there are some choices that wouldn't be first names for a novice. This is a very solid and great-sounding intro. For the money, it's tough to beat.

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