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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



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Count Basie

Live in ‘62

Jazz Icons DVD dvwwjicob

 

 


  1. Easin’ It
  2. You Are Too Beautiful
  3. Corner Pocket
  4. Stella by Starlight
  5. Back to the Apple
  6. I Need to be Bee’d With
  7. I Got Rhythm
  8. Back Water Blues
  9. Alexander’s ragtime Band
  10. Old man river
  11. One O’Clock Jump

Count Basie - Piano
Alto Sax - Marshall Royal, Frank Wess
Tenor Sax - Eric Dixon, Frank Foster, Frank Wess
Baritone Sax - Charlie Fowlkes
Trumpet - Al Aarons, Sonny Cohn, Thad Jones, Snooky Young
Trombone - Henry Coker, Quentin Jackson, Benny Powell
Guitar- Freddy Green
Bass- Eddie Jones
Drums - Sonny Payne
Vocals - Irene Reid

Imagine my delight when this DVD of what I consider to be the greatest ever Big Band arrived for review. The problem for those of us who liked this band so much, is that in the era in which it played, there was no such thing as video recording. If you wanted to hear the Basie Band, your choice was buy a disc or go to live concerts, I did both many times! This DVD was only made possible because it came from a TV show made in Sweden in 1962 and fortunately had not been disposed of.

This is the band five years on from the Atomic Mr Basie album, which usually comes out top of any poll for ‘The Greatest Big Band Album of All Times’. Most of the stars of that album are still in place and the band gives a spectacular performance in the way only the Count and his men could do it.

The programme starts with ‘Easin’ It, a piece written and arranged by Frank Foster. The first set of solos feature the trombones and then it is the turn of all four trumpets. This was unusual for normally Thad Jones and Al Aarons played the jazz and Sonny Cohn and Snooky Young shared the lead book.

One of the finest parts of the performance for me is the tenor sax playing of Eric Dixon on ‘You are Too Beautiful’, a breathtaking performance showing exactly how the instrument should be played. ‘Corner Pocket’, a Freddie Green composition follows, a Basie special which is played in the bands distinctive style, with great attention to dynamics as well as swing, Aarons and Wess are the soloists.

‘Stella by Starlight’ is a feature for Sonny Cohn, who stays quite close to the melody, but gives a telling rendition of this great song. ‘Back to the Apple’ is a Basie original arranged by Frank Foster, he also plays the tenor solo before Sonny Payne demonstrates some of his wonderful drumming skills. Quincy Jones wrote the next number which features the Count on piano soloing in his own unique way as well as Quentin Jones on the ‘talking trombone’!

Irene Reid, whose work I am not to familiar with, is a sort of female Jimmy Rushing, I enjoyed her three numbers however and she certainly contributes to the show.

Old Man River was frequently used a Basie flag waver and it is taken here at the customary 108 bars a minute! It provided a platform for Sonny Payne, one of the greatest big band drummers ever to turn it on, and turn it on he certainly does.

The DVD finishes with One O’Clock Jump, another part of the ‘essential Basie library’.

It is not really possible to describe a performance by the Basie Band in words, you just have to hear it for yourself. This band is packed with musicians who were either already top names in the jazz world, or they were about to be.
I enjoyed every minute of it.

Don Mather



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