If you're looking for background on exactly what recordings you're listening to here (dates, venues, personnel involved etc.), you needn't bother, as all this boxed set has to offer is titles and length of each piece. However,you'd really miss out on a mouth-wateringly superb, well-remastered set of ten cds, featuring the cream of Lester, plus some lovely 'duets' with Billie Holiday. This is an incredibly rich anthology, packed with highlights from his recording career with remarkable sound quality for the age of some of these recordings.
Given the shortcomings in documentation, I initially gave this collection 4 stars, but having listened to the material (sumptuous sax, bouncing, sunny rhythms to make you smile, some great individual piano, bass and drum work), I realised how mean this was. The first two discs feature a generous helping of Billie with Lester, and the sound is suitably grainy, given this is from the thirties. Thereafter, especially in discs 3-5, the joy of the music-making leaps out at you, forcing you to jump up to check what magical track is playing. Discs 8 & 9, featuring Lester's sublime work with Oscar Peterson, and a selection of singles with the Basie Band respectively, brim over with irresistible melodies.
This is also a wonderfully inexpensive introduction to anyone new to Lester's accessible and very addictive output. Take a tip from the title, and 'leap in' now!