Anyone wanting to dive into the world of jazz would do very well to check out this and the many other stellar box sets put out by England's Proper label. Showing how it should be done in the compilation game, the label packs this four-disc set with prime material and a 56-page booklet that includes extensive notes, a detailed sessionography, and amazing period photos. And the topper? Well, how does a 20-25-dollar price tag grab you? Besides key sides by the usual suspects (Parker, Gillespie, Powell, Davis, and Monk), the 1943-1949 mix features several fine vocalists (Anita O'Day, Billy Eckstine, Sarah Vaughan, etc.), West Coast stars (Howard McGhee, Wardell Gray), and even swing veterans (Coleman Hawkins, Red Norvo, Benny Goodman, and Gene Krupa). And that's not to forget the relatively obscure likes of Serge Chaloff, Claude Thornhill, Sonny Berman, and Boyd Raeburn. Amazing.