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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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COUNT BASIE Presents
The Tenor of

EDDIE "LOCKJAW" DAVIS

Fresh Sound FSR-CD 553

 

 


1. Broadway
2. Farouk
3. Telegraph
4. Don't Blame Me
5. Marie
6. A Misty One
7. Save Your Love for Me
8. Lock-Up
9. Street Of Dreams
10. Swingin' until the Girls Come Home
11. Jack and Jill
12. Bread
13. Paradise Squad
14. Bootsie
15. Blues for the Count and Oscar
16. Fancy Meeting You
17. Little Pony
18. Whirly Bird


Tracks 1-10 
Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis - Tenor sax
Count Basie - Piano
Shirley Scott - Organ
Joe Newman - Trumpet (tracks 1-3, 5-7, 10)
George Duvivier - Bass
Butch Ballard - Drums

Tracks 11-14, 16-18
Count Basie & his Orchestra featuring Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis

Track 15 
Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis - Tenor sax
Count Basie - Organ
Paul Quinichette - Tenor sax
Oscar Peterson - Piano
Ray Brown - Bass
Freddie Green - Guitar
Gus Johnson - Drums

 

The special sound of Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis's saxophone was one of the distinctive features of Count Basie's band at various periods. So it is not surprising that the Count repaid the debt by presenting Davis in a session spotlighting Lockjaw's trademark sound: big, gruff, and swinging. Eddie's tone was typical of the Texas school of tenorists, although he was actually born in New York. He could also sound seductive and tender in ballads like Don't Blame Me. He is well supported by Count Basie at the piano and another Basieite - Joe Newman on trumpet.

In the late 1950s, Lockjaw led a trio with organist Shirley Scott, and I must say her presence is the only thing I dislike about this album. She produces an oddly squeaky sound on the organ and mainly plays thick chords rather than single notes, which contrast poorly with Basie's economical piano playing. Despite this, Davis's tenor playing is a continuous delight, revealing his feeling for the blues in up-tempo numbers.

The original LP - recorded in 1957 - occupies the first ten tracks. The remainder of the CD consists of various tracks recorded in 1952 and 1957 by Lockjaw with Basie's band or - in the case of Blues for the Count and Oscar - with a septet which has Basie on organ and Oscar Peterson at the piano. This track also sets Paul Quinichette's laid-back Lester Young-style tenor alongside Eddie Davis's more forceful approach.

Some of the Basie orchestra tracks are acceptable but hardly outstanding swingers. For instance, Jack and Jill has a theme reminiscent of Rock Around the Clock and Lockjaw's brief solo sounds a bit subdued. But they save the best till last, with Whirly Bird. This is not the version from the ground-breaking album The Atomic Mr Basie (the first album really to capture the full Basie excitement) but a live recording made in 1957 at L'Olympia in Paris for a radio broadcast. Basie himself grunts and shouts approval throughout the track, which is driven by Sonny Payne's explosive drumming and features a lengthy solo from Davis. The audience (understandably) goes wild.

Tony Augarde 



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