Kris Needs, curator of the excellent Dirty Water punk-attitude compilation, here turns his attention to New York's "musical melting pot", with a projected five-volume series of double-disc sets, this first covering the years 1945-59.
It's an extraordinary, wide-ranging story, in which the obvious jazz legends – Ellington, Mingus, Monk, Davis, etc – are leavened with bursts of doo-wop and early R&B from the likes of Big Joe Turner, The Five Satins and The Drifters, and the first sprouting buds of the Greenwich Village folk scene. But what's most admirable is the way Needs manages to incorporate Allen Ginsberg reading "Howl", Raymond Scott's early electronic music, and 20 minutes of John Cage's zen-influenced "Indeterminacy" into the story. Roll on the 1960s set.
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