Unlike most of the other artists who were given a sampler CD by Concord in 1998, Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers were not on the label on a regular basis. However, Blakey recorded several excellent releases for Concord from 1978-85; the seven selections on this disc are taken from five albums. The earliest number, 1978's "Jody," unfortunately lists the wrong personnel for the frontline, which actually consisted of trumpeter Valeri Ponomarev, altoist Bobby Watson and tenorman David Schnitter (not Terence Blanchard, Donald Harrison and Jean Toussaint). There are three selections from the Blanchard-Harrison band and three others (including "Webb City" and "In Walked Bud") by the 1981-82 Messengers at a time when they featured a very young Wynton Marsalis; his brother Branford is also on "In Walked Bud." Although it's an OK overview, most of these recordings are preferable to acquire in full, making this sampler of only limited interest despite some strong moments.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow