This magnificent three-disc set has the first 63 recordings by Count Basie's Orchestra, all of his Deccas. The consistency is remarkable (with not more than two or three turkeys) and the music is the epitome of swing. With such soloists as Lester Young and Herschel Evans on tenors, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry "Sweets" Edison, the great blues singer Jimmy Rushing, and that brilliant rhythm section of Basie, guitarist Freddie Green, bassist Walter Page, and drummer Jo Jones, the music is timeless.
Count Basie defined the jazz meaning of swing. His band could get more bounce from a line that any other. And though his soloists were never of highest dazzle, they always fit the program. These live recordings from 1959, 1961 and 1962 capture the Count at his comfort. Mosaic has done its usual fine job with them on eight CDs. Roulette itself has reissued 12 of the cuts on a single CD entitled ``Basie in Sweden,`` for those who just want a taste.
Extraordinary jazz files of the king of swing, the four volumes of this great saga. Highly recommended!
The long-awaited collaboration between two icons, Count Basie and Frank Sinatra, did something unique for the reputations of both. For Basie, the Sinatra connection inaugurated a period in the '60s when his band was more popular and better known than it ever was, even in the big-band era. For Sinatra, Basie meant liberation, producing perhaps the loosest, rhythmically free singing of his career. Propelled by the irresistible drums of Sonny Payne, Sinatra careens up to and around the tunes, reacting jauntily to the beat and encouraging Payne to swing even harder, which was exactly the way to interact with the Basie rhythm machine – using his exquisite timing flawlessly.
Bristling with excitement and electricity, this 1958 album represents the finest accomplishment of Count Basie's "New Testament" big band. His "Old Testament" band of the late 1930s, featuring stars Lester Young, Herschel Evans, Dickie Wells, and Buck Clayton, perfected the blues-drenched, straight 4/4 rhythm of Kansas City swing. Building on the blues foundation, this 1950s band features more ambitious compositions and a more dynamic sound and incorporates more modern developments. ~ Amazon
As one who wrote the rules of jazz - alongside such notables as Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and John Coltrane- the bandleader Count Basie's gift was somewhat distinct. It lay in using his band as a musical instrument per se and defining a wholly unique sound. Some seventy years after his initial rise to prominence, it would be difficult to overestimate Basie's influence on subsequent jazz musicians; decades later, his sound and style are often imitated but seldom perfectly achieved.
For many fans, the equation Count Basie = Big Band Jazz is indisputable. Upon listening to these eight numbers, a new equation becomes equally clear - less is more when it comes to swing. Bob Thiele, Impulse producer, came to the conclusion that even with a meager budget, a whole lot of music with a terrific sound could be squeezed into the grooves. As always, the great soloists of the Basie big band are on top form. First and foremost is Frank Wess, who demonstrates why the flute is so popular for its sound-coloring and as a solo instrument. Thad Jones on the trumpet is outstanding in all the numbers and is equally important as composer and arranger. On this disc, carefully remastered for SACD by APO, the Count, delivers one adrenaline-like thrill after another. ~ Amazon
The Count Basie Orchestra is a 16 to 18 piece big band, one of the most prominent jazz performing groups of the swing era, founded by Count Basie. The band survived the late-forties decline in big band popularity and went on to produce notable collaborations with singers such as Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald in the fifties and sixties. The group continues to perform and record even after Basie's death in 1984.