on 1 June 2008
Comprehensive overview of the most significant part of a rich career - to say the least. This 4 CD collection starts with Roy's very first recording in 1935 (with Teddy Hill's big band), and ends with some of his choisiest work from the 50's. The booklet is very informative; it has some fine pictures and complete dates and personell listing. Also; it tells the story of Eldridge's career prior to his first recordings.
Sound quality is fine and music is, well, perfect.
Naturally, I already have some of the tracks in Teddy Wilson, Billie Holiday, Gene Krupa or Fletcher henderson collections, but this is still great.
There are some of the best swing combos I have ever heard in this collection, Roy's work in France is marvelous, there are the incredible "Metronome All stars" (on "St. Louis Blues" in two tempos...) with great Billy Eckstine, Lester Young, Terry Gibbs, Kai Winding and others... Big band tracks lag behind a bit (even Henderson, influntial as he was, doesn't fare well when compared to Krupa's, Eldridge's or Hawkins' combos represented here). But, the big band sides are still good or very good swing music.
Contributions of Coleman Hawkins, Chu Berry, Benny Goodman, Oscar Peterson, Gene Krupa, Israel Crosby (on Teddy Wilson's rightly famous "Blues in C sharp minor"), Don Byas, Buddy Tate and others are great but I would particularly like to recomend the Paris tracks, particularly those with Claude Bolling (duos: "Wild man blues" and "Fireworks"). These are marvelous reworking od Armstrong-Hines classics...
All swing and classic jazz fans should get this music on this or any other collections