The cover art of COMPACT JAZZ * BEST OF DIXIELAND is potentially misleading. Pictured are 78s and cylinders made in the pre-microphone acoustic recording era. Although some of the artists here, such as Louis Armstrong and Kid Ory, were in the studios in those pioneer days, none of their early work is to be found on this set. Rather, we have a collection of full range hi-fi or stereo tracks made for VERVE records in the years spanning 1955 to '61 (the exceptions being one side from 1964 and another made a decade later). A few of the classic New Orleans "locale" tunes appear ("Basin St. Blues," "Perdido St. Blues," "Canal St. Blues"), as well as perennial favorites ("Ballin' The Jack," "St. Louis Blues," "Hindustan"). For an opportunity to listen to the music being performed all around the Crescent City a half-century ago, VERVE's BEST OF DIXIELAND cannot be beat.
Bruce Palmer (acoustic/electric guitars/Fender bass) is best known for his association with the earliest incarnation of the Buffalo Springfield. It was he and Neil Young who trekked from their native Canada in the latter's hearse (named Mort) to Los Angeles in search of Stephen Stills with the hopes of forming a rocking teen combo. His tenure was cut short by deportation which stemmed from two separate marijuana-related convictions in 1967 and 1968, respectively. The Cycle Is Complete (1971) – Palmer's only solo effort – is an eclectic masterwork with stream of consciousness jams that combine folk, jazz, and rock onto a quartet of primarily instrumental sides.