From July 26, 1952 to December 12, 1953, Count Basie continued to record for Norman Granz's Clef label, variously utilizing a quintet, sextet, nonet, and 16-piece big band. Released in 2005, this volume in the Classics Chronological Series documents all of the issued studio titles from this time period, neatly omitting no less than 15 Birdland radio broadcasts so as to focus upon the Count's protean adventures within the intimate confines of recording studios in New York and Los Angeles. Basie's excellent instrumentalists include trumpeter Joe Newman, trombonist Henry Coker, reedmen Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Paul Quinichette, Marshall Royal, Ernie Wilkins, Frank Wess, Frank Foster, and Charlie Fowlkes. This album also features guest appearances by Oscar Peterson (he and Basie take turns playing organ and piano), vocalist Al Hibbler, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Buddy Rich.
Throughout his career, Count Basie was modest about his own abilities as a pianist, and his success at streamlining his style to the bare essentials often made listeners underrate his playing talents. This 1974 session was a rarity, an opportunity for Basie to be featured in a trio setting (with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Louie Bellson), during which he provides enough variety to hold one's interest and enough technique to lead many to reassess his piano skills.
"April in Paris" (1956), "King of Swing" (1954), "The Atomic Mr. Basie" (1957) and "The Greatest!! Count Basie Plays, Joe Williams Sings Standards" (1956) are presented here on a superbly remastered double CD.
April in Paris (1956). One of the staples in the Count Basie discography, April in Paris is one of those rare albums that makes its mark as an almost instant classic in the jazz pantheon. April in Paris represents the reassembly of the original Count Basie orchestra that define swing in the 1930s and 1940s. The title track has come to define elegance in orchestral jazz. Recorded in 1955 and 1956, April in Paris proved Count Basie's ability to grow through modern jazz changes while keeping the traditional jazz orchestra vital and alive…
The 15th installment in the complete commercially issued studio recordings of Count Basie was released as a new segment of the Classics Chronological Series in 2007. The time line represented here begins on December 12, 1953, and ends either in June or August 1954, depending upon which discographical session index you opt for. The bright, snappy Basie big-band sound of the mid-'50s was largely the result of compositions and arrangements by Frank Foster, Frank Wess, Freddie Green, Ernie Wilkins, Neal Hefti, and Manny Albam…
This studio album matches together Ella Fitzgerald and the Count Basie Orchestra 16 years after they first recorded together. Basie's sidemen are unfortunately restricted in the Benny Carter arrangements to backup work but Basie has a few piano solos and Fitzgerald is in good voice and in typically swinging form. Highlights include "Just a Sittin' and a Rockin'," "Teach Me Tonight" and "Honeysuckle Rose."
The long-awaited first 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 where 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…
Recorded three years after their first full album together, this second encounter between Count Basie and Oscar Peterson on twin pianos (this time with a quartet) is as strong as the original, alternating standards with blues. Both Peterson and Basie have one number apiece on electric piano, making this album historic as well as quite musical.
The Count Basie Orchestra's initial studio album for Pablo mostly features pleasant but lightweight arrangements by Sammy Nestico. The music is quite recognizable as Basie's but the results are somewhat forgettable and predictable.
This release gives one a definitive look at the Count Basie Orchestra during its final years. Trumpeter Pete Minger, trombonist Booty Wood and Eric Dixon on tenor and flute are the main soloists, but it is the classic Basie ensemble sound (which never seems to get dated or lose its charm and power) that carries the day. Whether it is "Wind Machine," "Splanky" or "In a Mellow Tone, " this is a highly enjoyable set.