(shipped with booklet & CD inlays but without jewel case for cheaper airmail and less problems with EU customs)
Just before the United States joined the Second World War, Jazz was at a crossroads. Big Band Swing was at the height of its popularity amongst white jazz fans, but black audiences were tiring of the bland, easy listening fare being served up by the likes of Glenn Miller. It was high time to put some excitement back into jazz, and the ‘honkers and screamers’ were in the right place at the right time to do it. Jazz purists hated it, but the public lapped it up.
This set brings together all the jazz and R&B instrumentals that reached the R&B charts between 1942 and 1963 and draws a connecting line between Swing, Bebop, Boogie, Jive, Mambo, Rock’n’roll, culminating in the funky organ grooves of Booker T and Jimmy Smith. It still has the irresistible energy that seduced so many in the Forties, Fifties and Sixties and changed the character of popular music forever.
With its comprehensive, almost scholarly approach, this is a fantastic project – just what the instrumental collector/historian ordered. But it also makes for good entertainment as the sequencing of the tracks is adjusted for listening pleasure. Alan Taylor Pipeline
The extensive notes include recording dates, composer, artist, original catalogue numbers and chart entry number/date. There are just so many great tunes here that at times you could be overwhelmed but you’ll be dancing and smiling so never mind. GRAEME SCOTT Blues Matters
Here’s a killer compilation of swing, jazz, smoochers, mild/wild rockin’ jivers to fill any sax-loving fan with delight and every one a hit. Compiler Nick Duckett has combed the charts of Billboard, Cashbox R&B, even Pop to come up with the goods, from número uno to a humble #128. You should have no difficulty with most, if not all of the acts, tho some of the titles may be unfamiliar. With bulging booklet, amply illustrated…if you’re a sax maniac, you’re in hog heaven…more than well worth a listen. Tony Martin American Music Magazine/NDT