The Classics chronological reissue series offers an unprecedented overview of vintage jazz and blues, transcending the original label copyright restrictions in order to document the recording careers of musicians who lived and died both in the limelight and the penumbra of popular culture. Each CD in the series represents a segment of a given artist's professional life, presenting, on the average, 24 historical tracks culled from original 78 rpm platters and early LPs. Drawn directly from this outstanding series, Great Jazz Pianists is a triple-disc tribute to three archetypal musicians whose innovations shaped the development of jazz and popular music: Jelly Roll Morton, Willie "The Lion" Smith and Art Tatum. In each case, the discs chosen from the series contain both solo and ensemble performances. Tatum's disc (1934-1940) references his early maturity; Smith's portion (1938-1940) focuses upon his peak middle years as soloist and bandleader, while Morton's contribution consists only of his very last recordings, cut for the General label in December 1939 and January 1940. Between the three of them, these pianists represent the evolution of jazz from its blues and ragtime origins through swing to the early intimations of bop. This entertaining and informative history lesson is recommended for listeners of all ages and of every persuasion.