From a label with no shortage of first-rate jazz material come this very attractive vocal sampler. Staying true to the Compact Jazz ethos, Best of the Jazz Vocalists favors quality over hits and comes with a budget price tag. The majority of songs are from the label's prime '50s and '60s run, including a cloud-bound "Summertime" by Helen Merrill and one of the all-time great versions of "If You Could See Me Now," compliments of Billy Eckstine. Continuing with this balancing act between the sexes, the collection also includes fine work by Bill Henderson, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Abbey Lincoln, Jon Hendricks, Shirley Horn, and Anita O'Day; latter-day entries include Lincoln's "I've Got Thunder and It Rings" from her 1990 Verve debut and Horn's "I Got Lost in His Arms" from 1988's Close Enough for Love. Nicely wrapped up with Nina Simone's Afro-percussion clarion call "Come Ye," this Verve roundup works as the perfect primer for more adventurous trips through the label's fertile stores of essential jazz.