The list of musical giants that cut sides for this jazz giant in its hey-day from the early 60’s to mid 70’s is astounding. Anybody from Ray Charles to Genesis who could’ve seen that little white, black, and orange label appear from the bled edges of that heavy laminated stock must’ve felt an enormous sense of pride. An Impulse! record was iconic, it was a symbol of the changing tide in the avant-garde. Each record was designed to be a work of art. The diversity of the label’s roster, however, is immense. Though they are mostly recognized as the vehicle for some of greatest left-field jazz records of all time, they had their share of straight records too.
“You had more jazz legends simultaneously alive and more jazz styles simultaneously active — from swing to bebop to hard bop to avant-garde — all happening on the same stages at the same time… And no record label tried to embrace this as much as Impulse did.” — Ashley Kahn, NPR
‘S’all jazz, ain’t it? This compilation is a 4 CD set of some of the labels finest moments, and a companion to Kahn’s book of the same name. The sequencing of this record, for lack of a better phrase, is flawless. Impulse’s large variety of textures, melodies, and tones all sit next to one another here as if they were recorded in this order. Though each composition on this collection is concise and well-thought-out the running order makes you stop and wonder sometimes if you’ve even changed tracks, so considered are the changes between styles and artists. Highly recommended.