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Various Artists: Sunnyside Twenty-Fifth Anniversary: Volume 1

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It would be difficult, from the evidence provided by the first volume of Sunnyside Records’ quarter-century anniversary collection, to determine if this intrepid indie possesses a label “sound” akin to that of, say, peak-era Blue Note or Impulse!  Sunnyside’s identity may best reveal itself in the consistent smarts that define its artist roster.

With disparate personalities rubbing agreeably against one another, this well-chosen double-disc set presents a portrait of a modestly daring label that has counted the likes of such distinctive figures as Fred Hersch, Guillermo Klein, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Lucian Souza, Jerry Gonzalez and Jay Clayton among its ranks at one time or another. Reliable mainstreamers mix with edgier players and idiosyncratic individualists who fall between the cracks.

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