Various Artists

Jazz Greats [Tops]

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AllMusic Review by

This long out-of-print LP, even with its lack of dates and sometimes inaccurate personnel information, has enjoyable music taken from the Black & White catalog of the mid-'40s. The sessions are incomplete (three instead of four songs apiece from four different groups) but, if seen at a budget price, this album is worth picking up. Clarinetist Mezz Mezzrow is featured with drummer George Wettling's trio, pianist Cliff Jackson leads his Village Cats (an octet with Sidney Bechet on soprano, trumpeter Sidney DeParis and trombonist Wilbur DeParis), pianist Willie "the Lion" Smith has a rollicking sextet with trumpeter Max Kaminsky and an unlisted Rod Cless on clarinet, and clarinetist Barney Bigard heads a set with pianist Art Tatum. The music is much better than the packaging.