VARIOUS ARTISTS The Best Jazz...Ever! (Virgin)

Just a quick mention for this, which is of, at best, minority interest around here, but for once this risible compilation series has almost lived up to its title, with over three hours of the stuff. Once you get past the vocal items, these days painfully overfamiliar from advertising and cover version misuse and abuse, that dominate the first CD, there’s fun to be had, with prime slices of Miles Davis (all nine minutes of "So What"), Dave Brubeck ("Take Five", similarly unbutchered), Herbie Hancock ("Cantaloupe Island"), Horace Silver (the tremendous "Song For My Father", as pilfered by Steely Dan on "Rikki Don’t Lose That Number") and John Coltrane (the inclusion of the, to me, inferior "Blue Train" in favour of the mindalteringly wonderful likes of "My Favorite Things" or "Acknowledgement" probably being not entirely unrelated to the few pages of Blue Note propaganda that jokingly calls itself a booklet). In fact, so good is the bulk of this very bulky release that I’m generously prepared to overlook the presence of marginals such as The Style Council and Randy Crawford. If you have, or even suspect that at any time in the future you may have, an interest in jazz, grab a copy before the tortuous licensing deals that accompany a package like this dictate it goes out of print.