The first three volumes of RCA's eight-CD series celebrating the 80th year since jazz was first recorded are superior and very well-planned. Things start to slip with Vol. 4, which for unknown reasons is not programmed in chronological order. Since jazz was continuing to evolve in the 1950s, the decision to juggle these 13 selections is quite unfortunate. The music (selections by Red Norvo, Charles Mingus, John Lewis, Shorty Rogers, Al Cohn & Zoot Sims, Henry "Red" Allen, George Russell, Benny Carter, Lena Horne, Bud Powell, Duke Ellington, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and Coleman Hawkins) is fine, covering several styles. But the tunes (which include Mingus' "Tijuana Gift Shop," Russell's "Concerto for Billy the Kid" and Blakey's "Moanin'") are all available in more coherent fashion elsewhere. RCA should have stuck to its original game plan.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow