Some of Count Basie's finest recordings were cut for the Roulette label during 1957-1962, and all of his studio performances are included on this massive Mosaic ten-CD boxed set. Among the classic former LPs that are reissued here are The Atomic Mr. Basie, Basie Plays Hefti, Chairman of the Board, Everyday I Have the Blues, and Kansas City Suite. With such soloists as trumpeters Thad Jones and Joe Newman, the tenors of Frank Foster and Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Frank Wess on alto and flute, vocals by Joe Williams, and the timeless arrangements of Neal Hefti, Thad Jones, Frank Foster, Ernie Wilkins, and Frank Wess among others, this essential (but unfortunately limited-edition) set features the second Count Basie Orchestra at its very best.
This superb 5-CD collection compiles all existing live recordings made by the Atomic band at the Crescendo Club, in Hollywood, in the summer of 1958, for the first time ever on a single edition. The sound quality is excellent throughout the set. Count Basie’s career was revived in late 1957 thanks to the success of the Neal Hefti-arranged LP Atomic Basie, which became one of his biggest hits. The orchestra was filled with stars, and Joe Williams’ vocals were heard to great effect supported by Hefti’s excellent scores and the superb quality of the band.
"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…
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. It's all here: "One O'Clock Jump," "Sent for You Yesterday," "Blue and Sentimental," "Jumpin' at the Woodside," "Jive at Five," and many others. This is the first Count Basie collection to acquire and should be in every jazz collection.
Count Basie was among the most important bandleaders of the swing era. With the exception of a brief period in the early '50s, he led a big band from 1935 until his death almost 50 years later, and the band continued to perform after he died. Basie's orchestra was characterized by a light, swinging rhythm section that he led from the piano, lively ensemble work, and generous soloing. Basie was not a composer like Duke Ellington or an important soloist like Benny Goodman. His instrument was his band, which was considered the epitome of swing and became broadly influential on jazz.
These broadcasts (all but one selection from 1938-39) capture Count Basie's orchestra live from the Famous Door. This CD contains 24 performances, a few of which are incomplete or poorly recorded. However, the enthusiastic solos of Lester Young, fellow tenors Herschel Evans and Buddy Tate, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry "Sweets" Edison and Basie himself are fresh and creative, and the ensembles are consistently swinging. These are the best pre-World War II live recordings of the Count Basie Orchestra and well worth acquiring.
One of Basie's final albums, the very appealing title cut seems to sum up his career, a lightly swinging groove with a strong melody. Two small-group performances with guest Joe Pass on guitar and the tenor of Kenny Hing add variety to aparticularly strong set.
Three decades after the fact, people looking at releases like This Time by Basie would tend to dismiss it as pandering, Count Basie doing a "pops"-type outing - the cheesy cover art even emphasized the songs over Basie and his band. Nothing could be further from the truth, however - this release reveals a wonderful body of work, and deserves to be better known. For starters, This Time by Basie swings, smooth and easy but taut, or hot and heavy. From Sonny Payne's understated cymbal intro to "This Could Be the Start of Something Big" to the bluesier notes of "One Mint Julep," Basie and company sound like they're enjoying themselves, whether elegantly stretching out on "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" or "Moon River," or soaring into the air on the hotter numbers - one of the more surprising covers here is "Walk Don't Run," which even works in a big-band arrangement…
Although it appeared at a time when Count Basie was enjoying respect from all quarters (as evidenced by the pop acclaim of several Grammy awards and the jazz faithful's enthusiasm for his concert at Newport), Chairman of the Board was, comparatively, a low-profile session. The record was surrounded in Basie's discography by several prize-winners and a parade of studio collaborations - with vocalists Tony Bennett, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, and Billy Eckstine, plus arranger Neal Hefti. This 1958 date for Roulette was a rare chance for the orchestra to perform on its own, and listeners to hear how powerful the band could be when its concentration was undiverted…