With nothing else but the PolyGram archives to comb through, Jazz-Club's pocket history of the guitar does offer a fairly representative list of post-World War II greats, at least. Though Eddie Lang, Charlie Christian and -- surprisingly for a European survey -- Django Reinhardt are early omissions, the set kicks off with a concise example of Les Paul's influential pre-pop swing manner on Willie Smith's "Moten Swing." The CD continues through Christian disciples Chuck Wayne, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel, and Tal Farlow, and the cool school's Billy Bauer and Jimmy Raney before arriving at the stylistic break of Wes Montgomery's ecstatic "Tear It Down." The collection then jumps around from mainstreamers Kenny Burrell (excellent choice, "Downstairs"), Jim Hall and Joe Pass to Brazilian advocates Baden Powell and Charlie Byrd (with Stan Getz), soul-jazz stars George Benson and Grant Green, and jazz-rock's John McLaughlin and Larry Coryell (the latter in a Hot Club Quintette re-creation with Philip Catherine and Stephane Grappelli; they snuck in Django after all). Musically, a strong grab-bag of things.
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AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell