This latest compilation from the Blue Note/Capitol set-up is put together with intelligence and love by Dutch radio jock Maestro. In the liner notes he expresses his intense feeling for the music on display, indeed he found inspiration in John Cusack's High Fidelity character, a man for whom music simply dominates his existence. This all lends to a quality album, forty years of simply fantastic music, all sequenced in a mind expanding journey that touches on big band, soul and of course hard bop.
Split into two discs-Saturday night and Sunday morning, Maestro effortlessly lets the music speak for itself providing a smooth mix perfect for either situation. Check out classics like Donald Byrd's influential "Black Byrd", the beautifully sung "I'm A Woman" by Minnie Riperton or smooth organ groove on "Deb Sombo" from Jimmy McGriff, all essential and wide ranging in their impact. By including recent Blue Note hits from St Germain and Ronny Jordan, Maestro manages to create universal and contemporary appeal - and that's just Saturday night.
On the second disc songs like "Lush Life" by Nancy Wilson and "Song For My Father" from Horace Silver are timeless, as touching today as they were decades ago. Elsewhere the Latin funk of Eddie Palmieri's "Harlem River Drive" and soul-jazz forefather Gary Bartz' epic "Music Is My" Sanctuary will bring a smile to even the most cynical sleepy Sunday morning listener. With the quality and scope of one of the most important labels in music on display, you can't really go wrong here. Excellent.