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The Smithsonian Collection Of Classic Jazz
Gottschalk, Lambert Orkis
The Smithsonian Collection Of Classic Jazz
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Special Interest, Pop, Classical


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Far better box set than the one compiled by Ken Burns
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This box set is an excellent survey of the history of jazz, doing a thorough job up until 1970 or so. Even after the hype of Ken Burns' documentary, this box set, compiled by Martin Williams for the Smithosonian, remains the collection of choice for most classrooms and beginners alike.To be fair, Burns admitted to knowing little about jazz before starting his project; it all sprung from an idea to show the how music fit in American history (in this case, jazz), and he essentially received a crash course in the material in a relatively short time. Not so with Martin Williams, who was a longtime authority of the subject. At times, the academic approach to his work has been criticized by some fans as stuffy, but what he accomplishes is tough to beat.He gives every period its due, and unlike Ken Burns, shows an understanding that major developments of jazz are often a result of large movements rather a single, glorified individual. Another fortunate result of this approach is how this set rarely overlooks any major artist. On the Burns set, too much focus is given to some individuals at the expense of others.Of course, it all comes down to how well the box set teaches jazz, especially to newcomers, and there is absolutely no other collection that does a better job. On the Burns set, history it tainted by the agendas set by all those involved. Thus, some movements in the music are dismissed as merely music of historical importance and nothing more. Not so on this set. Williams takes a more objective approach, giving the listener more freedom in making his own judgments rather than imposing one on him.The box set stops short of the 70's, denying one any exposure to fusion and how the music emerged from what was prematurely claimed to be its death. However, while most of the world had come to terms with free jazz, the controversy over fusion and the music afterwards was still raging on when Williams compiled this set. He may have avoided that period to save himself any trouble. Regardless, there's a lot going for this box set that more than makes up for this one drawback.."
The best collection of jazz avialable.
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I took a class on the history of jazz that was taught by Gap Mangione (who lived alot of what he taught us), and this was the collection we used to illuistrate the progression of jazz. From ragtime, to New Orleans style, to swing, and so on. This collection offers the best overview of the history, and varying styles that jazz has experienced as an art form. A must for someone who has an interest in jazz, but doesn't know where to start."
Smithsonian Classic Jazz - Box Set
peteh | Chapel Hill, NC United States | 10/03/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Magnificent. From the origins of Jazz with Scott Joplins 3/4 time music to Modern Jazz this collection has it all. Original remastered recordings of all the greats Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Davis, Coltrane they are all there. Great documentation traces the history and evolution of Jazz.A must for all jazz enthusiasts."