"To describe the prodigious talents of Sammy Davis Jr. is, indeed, a difficult task to accomplish in a small space. The man who can sing, dance, impersonate, produce, direct, be funny, and be dramatic is a rare find in show business at any time." So says Frank Sinatra of his Rat Pack compadre in the impressive 96-page booklet that accompanies this long-overdue four-CD box set tribute. An artist who was regarded less seriously by the general public (and the press too, to some degree) than were Sinatra and fellow Rat Packer Dean Martin, Davis was blessed with an incomparable array of creative gifts that defined a personal style as unique as any of his peers'. Despite personal demons (sensitively enumerated in Gerald Early's thoughtful essay on the political and cultural issues informing Davis's life and times) that drove him into some foolhardy projects for the sake of a buck, the valleys remain well in the shadow of the peaks, especially the musical ones. Those are on stunning display here, beginning with 1949's fanciful "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile" (notable less for Sammy's ebullient vocal than for the fancy tap-dancing he does on the track) and winding up 90 tracks later with a powerful version of the man's raison d'etre, "I've Gotta Be Me," a 1977 track from this collection's all-live fourth disc. In between those moments Davis is presented assaying the 20th century popular songbook, with formidable interpretations of Porter, the Gershwins, Johnny Mercer, Rodgers and Hart, Styne and Cahn, Bricusse and Newley…the list goes on, nearly every writer represented being in the top rank of his generation. Yes, the unfortunate "The Candy Man" is here, but that was Sammy too (and really, who could have made more of it than he?). Better to remember him for the dreamy interpretation of Rodgers and Hart's "My Romance," or the winsome reading of "Hey There," or the amazing blend of intense drama and tender heartedness he brings to his Top 20 single from 1963, "The Shelter of Your Arms." Or pick your own transcendent performance -- there's a raft of them here on what is one of the smartest, most thoughtfully assembled box sets ever released.