In the mid-'40s, bebop was what free jazz would be in the '60s and fusion would be in the '70s -- cutting-edge and controversial. Many swing fans of the 1940s had a hard time comprehending bop, but thankfully, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie "Bird" Parker didn't let that discourage them from forging ahead. Gillespie's revolutionary recordings of 1945 and 1946 are the main focus of this collection, which Cleopatra assembled for its Golden Lane label in 2000. Anthology boasts some of the trumpeter's definitive recordings from that period, including "Groovin' High," "Hot House," "All the Things You Are," and "Blue 'N Boogie." Some of those gems feature Bird on alto sax, and Gillespie is also in the company of such heavyweights as drummer Kenny Clarke and the unique bassist Slam Stewart. After providing 11 recordings from 1945-1946, Anthology shifts gears and offers six bonus tracks that were probably recorded during the 1960s. All of them are live recordings, and that includes rewarding (if less than essential) performances of "Lorraine," Lalo Schifrin's "Long, Long Summer," and Jobim's "Desafinado." Unfortunately, Golden Lane/Cleopatra doesn't have exact recording dates or personnel for the live material. Anthology is far from the last word on Gillespie in 1945 and 1946; essential treasures like "A Night in Tunisia" and "Anthropology" are missing. Nonetheless, this 17-track CD is generally excellent, and it is among the collections that novices can start out with if they're exploring Gillespie's early work for the first time.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson