Various Artists

The Savoy Story, Vol. 1: Jazz

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The old Savoy catalog gets bounced around from one distributor to the next like an unwanted foster child, with everyone starting from scratch once they get a hold of it. By 1999, it was Atlantic's turn and, hot on the heels of other label retrospectives, they have compiled a very good three-CD anthology of Savoy's jazz activities over 15 years in the middle of the 20th century. Decently remastered, the set opens around the tail end of the swing era (capturing some major figures in small-combo jazz like Ben Webster, Lester Young, Illinois Jacquet) and moves on to a detailed portrait of the emergence of bop just after the war. While rarely sticking with artists for very long to track their progress, Savoy (and the labels it absorbed) was a hugely important player in the early days of bop, managing to capture some of the earliest work of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Fats Navarro, Stan Getz, George Shearing, and Dexter Gordon. The set also tracks mid- to late-'50s hard bop, including numbers by Milt Jackson, Cannonball Adderley, Charlie Byrd, Donald Byrd, Herbie Mann, and other major figures. There are no unreleased goodies -- not much that truly ventures out beyond hard bop -- and only after the opening of disc three does the canvas of each track expand beyond the length of a single. The set comes in a compact, laminated mini-box with mid-century-style cover art.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:23 Amazon
2 3:13 Amazon
3 2:52 Amazon
4 2:58 Amazon
5 3:23 Amazon
6 3:17 Amazon
7 2:59 Amazon
8 2:45 Amazon
2:59 Amazon
10 3:03 Amazon
11 2:51 Amazon
12 2:44 Amazon
13 2:57 Amazon
14 3:18 Amazon
15 3:17 Amazon
16 2:48 Amazon
17 2:55 Amazon
18 3:16 Amazon
19 2:54 Amazon
20 2:54 Amazon
21 2:52 Amazon
22 2:54 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick