As the name of this compilation suggests what we have here is a collection of some of the great jazz numbers. However, this is none of your lounge jazz, Rat Pack sing-along junk, this is intelligent, boundary breaking jazz as chosen by world music connoisseur Gilles Peterson and Nu-Jazz pioneers Jazzanova.
Peterson takes the first disc, which puts together a raft of older jazz numbers. Highlights are the multi-instrumental Charles Mingus' "Moves" and Arthur Blythe's "Autumn in New York", as well as the ever reliable John Coltrane's "Equinox".
The second disc is compiled by Jazzanova and provides an overlook of the Nu-Jazz genre that they themselves are a part of. It begins with the founding fathers of Nu-Jazz, 4 Hero, who melded modern soul and jazz together so iconoclastically on their "Two Pages" album in 1998. Their "Spirits in Transit" track - from that album - still sounds fresh today.
However, the highlight of this disc is Two Banks of Four's "One Day", an spiralling trumpet led free jazz epic that draws more heavily on traditional jazz roots than most of the other tracks here. Bembe Segue's "Mother of the Future", a more lively, samba infused number, is another high point.
It's all capped off with a track from another defining act of 21st century jazz, Matthew Herbert, and his big band's "Everything's Changed". While his big band material reverts to more standard sounding jazz, it is Herbert's inventiveness and openness to change, experimentation and not simply blurring genres but actively ignoring them, that defines the modern day jazz across this disc.