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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 30 September 2009
A reasonably priced double CD with 157 minutes of cool West Coast jazz. There are no dates anywhere but I'm assuming these tracks were recorded in the fifties to the mid-sixties and released on Contemporary and Pacific Jazz in LA or Fantasy in San Francisco.

The thirty-seven tracks are by well-known names playing, in some instances, what might be considered their themes: Miles Davis and Move; Gerry Mulligan with Walking shoes and Bernie's tune; Shelly Manne plus Friends and Get me to the church on time. Only three tracks play over five minutes so these recordings are mostly from standard LP issues.

I didn't think there were any really strong standout tracks but no duds either. An overall enjoyable sampling of what came out of the West Coast jazz scene some decades ago and good value for money.

You might find these compilations of interest:
*The Contemporary Records Story four CDs and fifty-seven tracks at four hours and fifty minutes. Sort of sums up the Contemporary sound inspired by boss Lester Koenig. A nicely produced upright package with thirty-six page bound-in booklet.
*West Coast Jazz Box: An Anthology of California Jazz four CDs, sixty-one tracks at five hours and a handy seventy-two page book with a ton of background material;
*West Coast Jazz sub-titled Hermosa Beach 1951-1954 with twenty-one tracks at seventy minutes;
*California Cool twenty-one tracks at seventy-one minutes. This has the amazing Gloria Wood singing Hey Bellboy backed by Pete Candoli (oldies reading this will remember this was one of the themes used on the Europe 1 jazz programme back in the 1960s);
*Jazz West Coast double CD with forty tracks at 128 minutes. The prices for these sets seem to vary quite a bit so it's worth searching the net for the best deal.
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Cool jazz originated in the early fifties, and derived its name from the more laidback approach adopted by its proponents. The liner credits Lester Young's laconic tenor-sax phrasing for setting the template, and Miles Davis with codifying the cool approach. But that's only half the story, because Lester was influenced by Frankie Trumbauer's playing, and the inspiration for Miles' 1949 nonet recordings (two of which are included here) came from Claude Thornhill and Gil Evans.

My preference is for the standards, particularly "Star Dust" by the Mulligan/Baker Quartet and "Skylark" by the Bob Brookmeyer Quintet. Jimmy Giuffre's "The Train And The River" provided the leitmotiv for the film "Jazz On A Summer's Day", and was my introduction to the genre. One or two of the numbers seem to me to fall somewhat outside the definition of cool jazz, by virtue of either stratospheric trumpeting or frenzied drumming, but provided you're not a purist you should find much to enjoy here. Sadly though you won't find anything in the way of recording dates or personnel. Three stars would not be enough, and although four is slightly tipping the scale, it reflects the fact that this set is good value for money.
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on 23 November 2014
A fabulous jazz collection of sleazy, slow numbers through to uptempo tracks featuring virtuosic performances. This collection is well worth the current price of under £6. Incidentally, the sound quality overall is very good, despite claims to the contrary (each to their own I guess). I'm listening to the album now through a Marantz CD63SE MkII KI Signature CD player, a Yamaha AX-596 stereo amp and a pair of Castle Howard S2 speakers. These are nice components and everything sounds fine and dandy to my ear and I am very particular when it comes to sound quality.

Highly recommended!
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on 1 June 2014
Some well known names to modern jazz fans include: Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Sonny Rollins, Art Blakey, Bob Brookmeyer, Chet Baker and Charles Mingus. The tracks chosen for these artists, although enjoyable, tend not to be among their best known. Of the less well known artists, the Duke Ellington composition "Isfahan" performed by Tommy Smith is good.
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on 24 August 2013
A very good collection for introducing what is seen as cool and laid back. Well rendered by the early proponents. I am one for Miles Davis. This has led me to him
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on 31 October 2014
have played this quite a few time and my friend like it also so it is exerlent
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on 20 June 2012
I would recommend that people review the tracks first, I found the Audio quality was not really as good as it should be, taking into account it has the Re Mastered tag. Some good music, but not for the sound anoraks like me. Love the quality of this, if you don't have a copy is a must it's fantastic Genius Loves Company
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