Down Beat (1/02, pp.75-6) - 3.5 stars out of 5 - "...The operative word here is pleasant..."
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
This long-awaited two-disc set features all of Garland's jazz sides for Columbia Records between 1959-1960, including the complete albums Velvet Guitar, The Unforgettable Guitar of Hank Garland, and Jazz Winds From a New Direction. Although it may seem a bit quaint, in its time Jazz Winds was a revelatory performance; previously, it was almost impossible to believe that a country guitarist could attack jazz lines with this much imagination and finesse, even taking into account what Chet Atkins had already accomplished. Also surprising was the fact that Jazz Winds wasn't commercial or countrified in any way; it was marketed as a straight jazz album, played by a real jazz quartet that included Joe Morello (drums), Joe Benjamin (bass), and vibraphonist Gary Burton in his debut recording. However, even if that album caused all the fuss, there's terrific playing scattered throughout the other two, whether it's the cleverly titled "Call D. Law," the hard-swinging Garland original "Why Not?," or lovely takes on "Scarlet Ribbons" and "Polka Dots and Moonbeams." These sessions have become legendary in guitar circles, and the fact that most of them have been out of print for decades makes this reissue a real treasure for Garland fans. ~ Jim Smith