Active for a dozen years, the Microscopic Septet were widely recognized as "New York's Most Famous Unknown Band." The group started with a basic reeds-and-rhythm texture (soprano, alto, tenor and baritone sax, piano, bass and drums) that was sonically similar to the sound of the Swing Era. However, they employed these textures to address a widely eclectic range of styles, from free-form music to R&B, rhumbas and ragtime. The result was a brilliant blend of fresh-sounding orchestration and inspired soloing. Beloved in New York, where they generally drew capacity crowds, "The Micros" were one of the most celebrated of the many cutting-edge units associated with experimental music's best-known venue, the Knitting Factory, during the peak years of the "Downtown" music movement in the mid 1980s onward. This beautifully packaged and annotated set includes new cover artwork by Pulitzer-prize winning illustrator Art Spiegelman, new notes by leader Phillip Johnston, lots of great photographs and newly remastered versions of the last two albums by the band: "Off Beat Glory" and "Beauty Based on Science (The Visit)", as well as quite a lot of never-before released material, including two tracks with very early member John Zorn. The majority of this set has never appeared on CD and all of it has been unavailable for a number of years.
"The Microscopic Septet was one of the most distinctive jazz ensembles in New York during the '80s and early '90s. Combining a love for the big-band sound with a progressive approach to arrangement and composition, the Micros managed to be nostalgic and futuristic at the same time."
- All Music Guide
- Wall Street Journal
“...the Micros were dedicated to jazz that swung and was endlessly fun and inventive...a goldmine of material that should delight and inspire...”