Taken from the vaults of the Prestige, Riverside, Battle, and Fantasy labels, this is one of the finest collections of vintage soul-jazz you're likely to come across. The 25 tracks span 1958 to 1971, and include good cuts from core proponents of the style, such as Brother Jack McDuff, Boogaloo "Joe" Jones, and Jimmy Witherspoon. What gives this a leg up on some of the competition is its eclecticism: there are vocalists (Mose Allison), organists (Shirley Scott), Latin jazzers (Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria), and a few top jazz names not primarily associated with the genre (Eddie Jefferson, Otis Spann, Kenny Burrell, Sonny Stittt). To its credit, it's not stuffily purist either, making way for a bunch of nifty soul-jazz TV themes, a cover of "Evil Ways" by Cal Tjader, and no-names like Pat Bowie, the Merced Blue Notes, and Billy Hawks. It results in much more variety than most anthologies of the sort, without any drop in the groove factor.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger