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The year 1956 finally brought the breakthrough of the long-playing record format for jazz. On the one hand, record labels were able to re-market their catalogue by reassembling and republishing older sessions originally pressed on the 10-inch format, on the other hand, the longer playing time per LP-side finally give the musicians more freedom in regards to the structure of their compositions and the length of their improvisations.
The 20 original albums from 1956 collected here are mainly new releases, however, recorded in 1955 and 1956. The wide ranging musical spectrum from Duke Ellington via Billie Holiday or Stan Getz to Thelonious Monk and Charlie Mingus (both Mingus and Monk reached a larger audience for the first time that year), makes it clear that jazz developed in a multi-stylistic way during that time and all these musicians, whether playing hot or cool, Swing or Hardbop, created great classics whose emotionality, intensity, creativity and charisma are still among the best jazz history has to offer today.