This three-CD reissue of an earlier Riverside five-LP set gives listeners a perfect introduction to early jazz. The 60 selections are divided into ten categories: Backgrounds (including African music, a sermon and marching music), Ragtime (both piano rolls and solo recordings), Blues, New Orleans Style, Boogie Woogie, South Side Chicago, Chicago Style, Harlem, New York Style and New Orleans Revival. The performances contain many highlights (nearly every selection is a gem) and, although emphasizing the 1920s, they do not neglect later developments in Dixieland. The informative booklet is also a major asset. It's a highly recommended acquisition even to collectors who may already have the majority of these recordings.
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AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow