Various Justin Time 25th Anniversary Collection

Canada’s granddaddy jazz label, Montreal-based Justin Time, has released a remarkable number of recordings for an admittedly niche market. And it’s been home to an equally amazing stable of diversely talented artists. From the meat-and-potatoes swing of pianists Oliver Jones and Oscar Peterson, singers Ranee Lee, Carol Welsman and Diana Krall, and the Rob McConnell Tentet and Denny Christianson to the challenging, outward bound work from saxophonist David Murray, the World Saxophone Quartet and iconoclast Paul Bley, the two-CD 25th Anniversary Collection has truly got something for pretty much every taste. While it’s expected that such a retrospective would contain some fairly pedestrian stuff, there’s not a dumb misstep anywhere. Moreover, there are also genuinely spellbinding cuts: Hank Jones’s impeccable rendering of "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise,” John Ballantyne and Joe Henderson’s dazzling "Opus IV,” and Carol Egan’s deeply emotional "2 to Tango” to name a few. The soundtrack to your next dinner party with friends? Why not? (Justin Time)