While the sequencing could have been better (swing boppers like Hawkins at the beginning, not the end), this bebop sampler still offers newcomers an enjoyable way to get cozy with some of the music's key early moments. In addition to a fair amount of Dizzy and few important sides from Parker, the 22-track set takes in such important underlings as Wardell Gray, Kai Winding, Red Rodney, and Dodo Marmarosa. And as far as swing veterans hip to the scene go, one gets a chance to not only hear Lionel Hampton, Henry Allen, and Hawkins, but such bop-bred bandleaders as Woody Herman and Stan Kenton, too. A young Sarah Vaughan is also on hand, already impressive, for this ideal taste of modern jazz's budding years.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook