The NEA Jazz Masters program is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, and since 1982 has been handing out honors and cash to legendary jazz artists. This collection of past award-winners (which is limited to recordings released by labels owned currently by Universal, namely Verve, Impulse!, MCA, and Decca) makes for some great listening. The tracks by such amazing artists as Count Basie, Carmen McRae, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sonny Rollins are taken from when they were at the peak of their game, not when they were given the Jazz Masters award. There are a few exceptions in the case of artists who recently recorded for Verve, like Herbie Hancock, Abbey Lincoln, Jimmy Heath, Wayne Shorter, and Joe Henderson, but these modern tracks don't drag the collection down since these artists were all making strong records at the time. NEA Jazz Masters would make a fine introduction to jazz for a new fan or a nice, if inessential, pickup for a seasoned fan who wants a bunch of solid jazz.