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4.6 out of 5 stars21
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 4 November 2013
A superb collection of 35 (mainly) original 10" albums plus a few 7" EPs, all originally released on either the Swing or Vogue label, and now available again thanks to this wonderful Sony Legacy/Vogue Box.

The original artwork is attractive, and all 20 CDs have very sturdy cardboard sleeves. The actual design (and size) of the box itself is also very cool. There is also an informative and colourful booklet included.

The music is vintage quality Jazz, presented in fine style and at a very competitive price.

I have heard all the CDs (mostly all Mono) a few times now and they have been well mastered, sounding even better than I could have expected, especially considering the first 3CDs were recorded in the late 1940s. The other 17CDs are all dated early 1950s.

I've been listening to practically nothing else all fortnight and am beginning to appreciate more and more the pleasure of listening to 1950s Jazz in Mono!

It's encouraging to know Sony/Legacy are paying attention to some of the vast treasure trove of (currently) unavailable Jazz originally issued way back in the 1940s & early 1950s.

This box is the bees knees, and no Jazz lover interested in music from this period can afford to miss it!
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on 25 February 2014
Anybody who started their record buying career in Britain in the days of EPs and 10" LPs will have a soft spot for labels like Esquire, Melodisc...and Vogue, who served us jazz fans far better than the big four.

Perhaps it is the warm glow of nostalgia, or increasing tolerance with age, that it doesn't seem so incongruous to see Sidney Bechet rubbing shoulders with Monk and Lionel Hampton and Mezz Mezzrow with Bobby Jaspar in the same sturdy 20CD box. Jimmy Raney, Milt Jackson, Roy Eldridge and Bob Brookmeyer are among my favourite musicians, who , despite their different styles, lived and breathed jazz.

I have very few reservations: the main one may seem paltry. The Gerry Mulligan Quartet (with Bob Brookmeyer) disc runs for only 37 minutes 40 seconds. The following volume, Theolonious Monk, solo, both from 1954, runs for 31 minutes 35 seconds. Both these sessions could have fitted on to one disc. There were other tracks recorded by Mulligan in Paris in the opening days of June 1954 at that same concert, but to be fair, the entire session has been reissued many times of many labels and is easily obtainable.

I would have liked to see these sessions coupled on one CD to have had the "extra" CD taken up with the sessions Frank Rosolino and Zoot Zims recorded in Paris while on tour with the great Stan Kenton Orchestra in September 1953 and there was a great quartet session by Frank Foster which could also have been accomodated (both appeared on the British "Vogue double" series of LPs in a compilation called "Four 4 Sax" in 1978).

Also, couldn't room have been found for at least one of the two takes of the magnificent "Brown Skins" - a variation on "Cherokee" recorded (in the utmost secrecy) by a large band led by Clifford Brown, when he was playing truant from the Lionel Hampton Band in 1953, and Clifford had to be smuggled out of his hotel room because Hamp's dictatorial wife Gladys had forbidden any of the band making recordings while touring.

These records sum up a time and a place and the thought of Brownie and his trumpet sneaking down the fire escape of his Paris hotel is perhaps the most romantic of the lot, and Brown Skins will always reman one of the supreme masterpiece of the catalogue.

These carping critisisms aside, the set is worth every penny: most of the CDs have the familiar dark red, white and black Vogue labels we knew so well, a few have the toffee brown "Swing" label. Each CD is contained in an extremely strong cardboard cover, rather like the Japanese Blue Note and Prestige issues from King. All sleeve notes are in French. The booklet could perhaps have painted a rather better picture of some of the sessions, butt they are factual if brief.

The only thing that saddens me is that these projects are always one-offs, and though there wouldn't be enough material for another 20 volume set, so much is missing, that a smaller box could (but probably won't) be commissioned. How about "The Herdsmen Visit Paris", or Jay Cameron's International Sax Group (January 1st 1955), as well as the Foster and Rosolino/Sims sessions and.how about Kenny Clarke with Jimmy Deuchar.... but what's done is done. Let's be grateful for what there is: I have heard the Henri Renaud sessions from March 7 1954 many times, but until this weekend I had never heard the track where Milt Jackson sings and plays piano on Harry Warren's "The More I See You", and there are a few other tracks I have never heard.

This set will sit next to that wonderful collection of "The Complete Saturne Picture Discs" (Paris Jazz Corner Productions PJC 222008), - recorded in 1951 and issued over a decade ago which featured Henri Renaud (with highly evocative sleeve notes by M. Renaud ) leading a band including Sandy Mosse, Bobby Jaspar and Jimmy Gourley. Jimmy Gourley (1926-2008) was a fine guitarist in the Raney mould who enlivened many a session including the cerebral Lee Konitz one included in this Vogue box, and some of the Clifford Brown/Gigi Gryce tracks here. He was a great favourite of mine and deserved to be better known. Towards the end of his life he had his own label "Elabeth" and it's few issues are worth hunting down.One even included Stan Getz guesting (masquerading as "Dju Berry")- thats how good he was, Stan wouldnt have wasted time with just anybody in the 1980s.

My advice is to buy this set if you have any interest at all in jazz from the late 40s to the mid-fifties before it gets deleted and will cost a months wages to buy secondhand
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on 21 March 2014
This is a superb set at unbelievable value for money. Extremely well packaged. Informative booklet. Great music, much of it hard to come by and/or long out of print. Good sound quality. It is a thing of rare beauty!
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on 6 August 2014
Great package that introduced me to some that I would not have otherwise heard and the high satndard is constant throughout all 20 cds. Its the more familiar faces that bring little new to the party. I do have one criticism and it's not the music. The booklet is bound in such a way that the pages soon start to part company but the whole package is 5 stars through and through.
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on 23 September 2014
A very good mixed jazz box set, worth every penny, I found a few people I had not heard before which is always a good thing to broaden my further understanding of the jazz scene away from the well known artists.
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on 30 January 2014
Definitely a worthwhile acquisition, especially if you go for one of the more competitive prices on offer. The collection spans many styles and there is something to enjoy on almost every disc.

There is fine work from the likes of Clifford Brown, Roy Eldridge and Roy Haynes, and an intimate little recital from Thelonius Monk, and I was pleased to encounter unfamiliar players such as superb pianist Mary Lou Williams and some excellent French musicians – especially Henri Renaud and Barney Wilen.

The only disappointments, for me, were the Lionel Hampton disc, spoilt by the demented moans in the background, and the Latin American-flavoured muzak from Lalo Schifrin. I agree with the reviewer who hoped for more liner notes, but at least the booklet lists recording venues, dates and personnel.

If you liked acquiring the earlier Perfect Jazz Collection box sets, treat yourself to this one: enjoy some stars you know and discover some you don't.
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The box is solid and well made, unlike some other flimsier releases. Each disc is packaged in a neat, well made little replica LP cover with the name on the spine. A decent booklet accompanies the release.

The music here is both classic and occasionally unusual stuff - the French recordings are interesting and not so widely available.

The whole package is a gem full of delights from beginning to end.

This collection has so much to recommend it. Just marvellous!
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on 31 August 2015
Do it, buy this set - worth it for the Elridge and Dizzy discs alone. Consider what a great job has been done to bring you this music, artwork, notes in an affordable hard format in what seems like the 'last days' of accessing rare and classic jazz via CD (....that doesn't come from Japan). Splendid music here.
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on 10 April 2014
Buy this. An interesting set of mainly 10 inch records published in France in the 1950's. Nicely presented in original sleeves.
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on 15 January 2015
It will take months to play all these!
Classical 'old-school' jazz. I know a few names but almost all of these tracks I've never heard before, it's an interesting eye-opener.

Great background music to work with in my studio, most of the CD's have played so far have a 'mellow' vibe, definitely have an old/classic sound - but can't comment on all, I still have hours of discs to go!

A few discs might not be to everyone's taste - there is a broad mix here - but an open door for an open mind.
Great value. Great music.
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