The Leaders was a veritable supergroup of leftward-leaning, mid-'80s jazz stars. Its front line was comprised of three of the era's important personalities trumpeter Lester Bowie, from the decade's most critically acclaimed band, the Art Ensemble of Chicago; alto saxophonist Arthur Blythe, whose Columbia albums of the time almost (but not quite) brought free jazz a measure of popular acceptance; and tenor saxophonist Chico Freeman, who made a series of records that melded the best of mainstream jazz with the passion and originality of the avant-garde. The horns combined with pianist Kirk Lightsey, bassist Cecil McBee, and drummer Famoudou Don Moye to make a pair of generally fine, if unspectacular, records.
An outstanding nine CD collection of rare jazz, blues, country, pop, cowboy, march, ragtime, vaudeville and gospel recordings that form our musical legacy, compiled by jazz historian Allen Lowe. More than10 hours of music in a presentation slipcase with a 127 page booklet containing many photos and a wealth of interesting information about the music. Space here only permits artist and song title listings of the first 4 CD's in the 9 CD set.
This set matches the McCoy Tyner Trio (which includes bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Al Foster) with four different guests. Altoist Arthur Blythe and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson fare best but both trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and guitarist John Abercrombie also have their strong moments. In addition to four Tyner compositions, there is one song apiece from McBee, Abercrombie and Hutcherson in addition to four jazz standards. This collection is a fine all-around showcase for the brilliant pianist even if no new ground is broken. ~ AllMusic