Jelly Roll Morton's 1938 Library of Congress Recordings have been issued and reissued by various labels since the monumental Riverside LP edition of 1955. In what might be seen as a 50th anniversary celebration, the folks at Rounder Records decided to haul off and reintroduce this material to the public in the year 2005 with a mammoth tribute package of unprecedented completeness. While that heavily documented, digitally enhanced eight-disc set is highly recommended for anyone who can afford it, Rounder's single CD compendium is an essential sampler that may serve as the ideal introduction to Jelly Roll Morton, and to jazz itself. The balanced ratio of songs and piano solos to stories and narration is perfectly maintained. Accessible, entertaining, informative and affordable, this marvelous artifact should be considered essential listening for anyone interested in music, life, history and human nature.
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf