This single disc is a distillation of the Mosaic Complete Serge Chaloff Sessions, which featured virtually every session he ever led -- in the '40s -- and Jazz Factory should have titled it accordingly. (Chaloff recorded with a number of small combos in the 1950s, including a band that included Sonny Clark, Philly Joe Jones, and Leroy Vinnegar for his classic outing, Blue Serge on Capitol.) These are 23 cuts recorded between 1946 and 1949, featuring the great baritone saxophonist in every setting from duets with pianist Rollins Griffith to octet recordings made with Red Rodney, Curley Russell, and George Wallington in the mix. The duets are no big deal, recorded probably after a piano lesson that Griffith had with Chaloff's mom. But the rest of the material here is from the dawn of bebop, and Chaloff was an exciting and original voice on his instrument. Beginning with the first-ever recording of "Blue Serge" in 1946, the jets are on go and no matter who is in the band, from Allen Eager to Flip Phillips or Oscar Pettiford, Chaloff's scorched earth policy regarding the blues and tempo is singular. This is a cool set for the price, but seeking out the Mosaic set is a greater reward.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek