July/August 2005

Verve Records’ Jazz in Paris: C'est Belle

There once was a time when jazz box sets regularly came out in elaborate packaging; today that's the exception. For every stunning collection like Revenant's Albert Ayler box from 2004, there are numerous nuts-and-bolts productions that feature the music and data in functional packaging. Jazz in Paris aims for the 1990s heyday of deluxe box sets.

Produced by the French division of Universal, and imported to the U.S. by Verve, this four-edition set traces the history of jazz in France. Champs-Elysees 1917-1949, Montmartre 1924-1939, Rive Gauche, Rive Droite 1956-1959 and Saint-Germain-Des-Pres 1946-1956 are housed in 10-inch-record-style boxes, and inside are richly detailed 60-page booklets. Alain Tercinet's text along with rare photos, posters, paintings, record covers and more could stand alone as a coffee-table book, but each edition also has a three-CD collection to aurally illustrate it. French, American and European musicians are represented, from hot swing to cool bop, Josephine Baker to Miles Davis. While many of the tracks are familiar, their exquisite presentation in Jazz in Paris makes them new again. Go to vervemusicgroup.com for tracklists and details.

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