Charles Mingus
The Best Of Charles Mingus (Rhino)

With his spidery fingerwork that teetered between vicious and elegant, bassist Charles Mingus, who died in 1979, helped define — and redefine — ’50s and ’60s jazz. This single-disc compilation frameworks Mingus’ key moments, spotlighting his most moving and intelligent work.

Looking Back Tomorrow: BeaSoleil Live! (Sony Legacy)

You’ll be hard pressed to find a more appropriate soundtrack for ringing in Y2K1 than this live effort from Cajun monsters BeauSoleil, who’ve won a Grammy for their swampy, upbeat anthems. Every song here is a party, every note a smile.

Love Songs Series (Sony Legacy)

Get an early start on stirring Valentine’s Day vibes with one — or, heck, all — of these individual compilations that gather the most heart-melting cry/hug-alongs from Aretha Franklin, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, the Isley Brothers, and Michael Bolton. A wallet-emptying dinner may not even be necessary now.