First of two double CDs exploring the substantial contributions to American music by the amazingly talented Henry Glover who was one of the first African-American executives and producers in a white owned record company. Glover did it all - he was a producer, arranger, songwriter, publisher, talent scout, trumpet player and label owner. He started off playing with the Lucky Millinder band in the early 40s and quickly became arranger for the band and songwriter for the band's many great vocalists. Soon he was writing and producing for Syd Nathan's King label and in 1948 was put on staff by Nathan and the majority of the recordings here are from King along with some covers of King hits by artists on other labels.
Great work from Gloria Coleman – an overlooked genius on the organ, and part of an elite group of female keyboardists that includes Shirley Scott, Rhoda Scott, and Trudy Pitts! Coleman almost never got the chance to record, but clearly had a sharpness that was honed from years in the clubs – a tight, soulful approach to the instrument that also has her working the bass pedals as strongly as the keys – and an ability to sing at all the right times, in a soul-drenched mode that's even deeper than the vocalizations of Trudy Pitts on her late 60s albums for Prestige. The group's got James Anderson on tenor, Dick Griffin on trombone, Ray Copeland on flugelhorn, and Earl Dunbar on guitar – and titles include the funky "Bugaloo for Ernie", a great version of Kenny Dorham's "Blue Bossa", Blue Mitchell's "Fungi Mama".
While it's true this set has been given the highest rating AMG awards, it comes with a qualifier: the rating is for the music and the package, not necessarily the presentation. Presentation is a compiler's nightmare in the case of artists like John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, who recorded often and at different times and had most of their recordings issued from the wealth of material available at the time a record was needed rather than culling an album from a particular session.