The Kings of Jazz
The Kings series is less definitive than its name might imply. Still, each arbitrary assortment has unearthed some beauties. Veteran jazz fans may find The Present, compiled by Jazzanova, a techy mellow soup of less interest than the sweaty brilliance on The History (Gilles Peterson). From the titles, you might deduce that jazz has been declared dead. About the only notion that resonates between the two discs is arresting group vocals, as on the Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Charles Mingus and Pavel Kostiuk tracks. Hearing the Jazz Crusaders, Art Blakey, John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy on one disc with no obvious choices makes up for any nods to modernity.