Various Artists

Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology

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AllMusic Review by

This lavish 111-track, six-CD box set attempts the impossible -- to tell the whole story of jazz. Essentially an updated version of 1987’s out of print The Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz, this expanded anthology is wonderfully diverse in the story it tells, with tracks from jazz artists across the stylistic board, from Stan Kenton to Sun Ra, Bill Evans to Chick Corea, Louis Armstrong to Cecil Taylor, with stops everywhere in between, and any conceivable branch of the genre is represented by at least one selection. That’s the good news. The bad news is that whole phases of jazz’s complicated history are treated like three-minute whistle stops so that the train can stay on schedule and on track. That said, it’s an impressive survey, and wonderfully assembled and annotated.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:29
2 3:03
3
3:10
4 2:28
5 3:16
6 3:16
7 3:04
8 3:20
9 3:09
10 3:03
11 3:21
12 2:45
13 3:32
14 3:07
15 3:14
16 3:25
17 2:24
18 2:59
19 3:09
20 2:54
21 3:00
22 3:10
23 2:41
24 3:05
25 3:15

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:16
2 3:00
3 2:16
4 3:02
5 3:05
6 2:17
7 2:43
8 3:20
9 4:14
10 3:34
11 3:06
12 3:02
13 3:09
14 3:28
15 3:16
16 4:00
17 2:46
18 3:47
19 3:18
20 3:24
21 2:53
22 5:10
23 3:17
24
3:20
blue highlight denotes track pick