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Various - The CTI Master Collection
Love them or hate them, there's no denying that CTI was one of the most influential labels in the history of jazz.  With a comittment to distinctive artwork, sonic clarity and crossover success, CTI infuriated hardcore jazz critics but was very popular among record buyers, including contemporary producers looking for samples. 

While it's undeniable that their output was less intense and more arranged than their fusion counterparts, the high caliber of musicianship usually ensured that all releases would be enjoyable.  The Master Collection is meant as a showcase for the CTI''s best moments, and serves as a decent introduction to the label.

Included are classics on the level of Deodato's million-selling "Also Sprach Zarathustra," Esther Phillips' "Home Is Where the Hatred Is" and George Benson's take on the pop chestnut "California Dreaming."  There is also a nod given to latin jazz courtesy of Astrud Gilberto and Ray Barretto, whose "La Cuna" is one of the best tracks here.

But observant fans will notice the absence of songs like "Red Clay" and "Polar AC" by Freddie Hubbard, George Benson's "Em" or "Could Heaven Ever Be Like This" by Idris Muhammad, cuts that made CTI a household name in the first place.  Most inexplicably, there is nothing from Grover Washington Jr., one of their flagship artists.  That's like putting out a Motown collection without any Rick James songs.

Because of these glaring omissions, this collection falls short of definitive. It's good for beginners, but you'll need to buy several other releases in order to get a full grasp of what made CTI so special.

Copyright 2002  All rights reserved.


Released 2002 on CTI

(click on cover to buy)

Selected Tracks:

Johnny Hammond - Blue Selah
Freddie Hubbard - Sky Dive
Lalo Shifrin - Jaws
Chet Baker - Funk In Deep Freeze

Deodato - Do It Again
Patti Austin - We're In Love
Milt Jackson - Sunflower

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