Although there were plenty of early-'50s examples of Atlantic's commitment to jazz, the Ertegun brothers allegedly didn't get serious about establishing a full jazz line until 1955 when the twelve-inch LP was starting to take hold. Hence the half-decade span of this Rhino sampler that helped launch its repackaging of the Atlantic jazz caatalogue in 1993. In the space of one disc, Rhino touches upon most of the leading Atlantic jazz folk of the time, beginning with Shorty Rogers' inimitable "Martians Go Home" and running through to Chris Connor's live "All About Ronnie." Along the way, we hear samples of the MJQ (though there is no solo Milt Jackson), Art Blakey, LaVern Baker, John Coltrane ("Cousin Mary"), Jimmy Giuffre, Joe Turner, Charles Mingus, David "Fathead" Newman, Lennie Tristano, and some string-laden Ray Charles ("Come Rain Or Come Shine"). If quibble we must, there is nothing of the Dixieland resurgence that Atlantic was cultivating then, and most glaring of all, there is no Ornette Coleman, whose first two groundbreaking Atlantic albums were made in 1959. Otherwise casual jazz shoppers will find much to stimulate their appetites in this collection, better described as "best of the late-'50s."
AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell