Because RCA Victor was one of the major labels of the 1940s and caught on to bebop as early as 1946 without neglecting Dixieland and swing, their catalog holdings from the 1940s are quite strong. The third of eight CDs in this series (all are available separately or as an eight-CD set) has 25 selections, most of which are gems. The inclusion of the wrong version of "Overtime" by the Metronome All Stars robs listeners of the chance to hear a unique trumpet tradeoff by Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Fats Navarro, but otherwise, this is a superior reissue. Featured are Coleman Hawkins, Duke Ellington ("Cotton Tail"), Artie Shaw's Gramercy Five, Sidney Bechet, Benny Carter, Tommy Dorsey, Johnny Hodges, John Kirby, Earl Hines, Gillespie, Art Tatum, Jack Teagarden, Erroll Garner, Louis Armstrong ("Ain't Misbehavin'"), Lennie Tristano, Count Basie, Oscar Peterson and a few all-star groups. Most but not all of these numbers are currently available elsewhere.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow