Various Artists

Sizzlin' Jazz

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This mines the extensive jazz vaults of Atlantic. While Atlantic's past jazz credentials are strong, by the '70s the label was a madhouse, with talent excused and countless albums deleted from the catalog. With the label Collectables acquiring a substantial amount of classic Atlantic efforts, the original label often seemed lost at how to offer its best work. While Sizzlin' Jazz isn't an extensive collection, this collects well-known jazz classics and respected artists, like the romantic minded Fireside Jazz did. Eddie Harris' powerful and polyrhythmic "Listen Here" and the masterful Harris collaboration with Les McCann, "Compared to What," both are the epitome of soulful and commercial yet still respected jazz. Herbie Mann's earthy "Push Push" is a lengthy though fulfilling mix of jazz/funk and rock courtesy of Duane Allman's guitar solos. Lesser-known songs "Little Sister" from David "Fathead" Newman and Hank Crawford's "The Peeper" are more straight-ahead jazz. While the aforementioned names will ring a bell with any jazz fan, Sizzlin' Jazz also offers tracks from artists more known in pop. This set takes two tracks from Ray Charles, a live take of "I Got a Woman" and the playful "Rockhouse Parts 1&2." The least effective cut, "Ramblin'" from Aretha Franklin's Soul '69, certainly pales in comparison to the more esteemed company. With little or no information on the individual tracks, Sizzlin' Jazz certainly could have been better.

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