1. Groovin’ for Basie
2. Tickle Toe
4. Jumpin’ at the Woodside
5. Moten Swing
6. Flip Flop and Fly
7. Li’l Darling
8. Shiny Stockings
10. Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good to You
11. Lester Leaps In
13. Roll ‘em Pete
Pete York – Drums, vocals
Torsten Goods – Guitar, vocals
Gabor Bolla – Tenor sax
Andi Kissenbeck – Hammond organ
Wolfgang Schmid – Bass (track 1)
When Pete York was 15, his mother took him to see a concert by the Count Basie Band. Peter’s reaction was “It was unforgettable, particularly due to his
energetic drummer, Sonny Payne. His big band had such power and dynamics”. Imagine, then, what Basie’s music would sound like if a small group of four
musicians tried to play it. The result is on this CD, and it is surprisingly successful.
Pete York is probably best known as a rock drummer, first coming to fame with the Spencer Davis Group in the 1960s. But his wider tastes are evident on
this album and in projects like his “Super Drumming” series, which included such drummers as Billy Cobham, Ian Paice, Steve Ferrone, Louie Bellson and Cozy
Powell. You might expect Pete to be prominent on this new disc, especially given his praise for Basie’s powerful drummer Sonny Payne. Yet York is recorded
fairly low in ther mix, and he only comes to the fore on such tracks as Jumping at the Woodside (where he contributes a fine drum solo) and Cute, which was designed as a drum feature.
The other musicians are described as Pete’s “Young Friends”. They were deliberately chosen in the hope that young players would appeal to young listeners,
who are often unaware of great jazzmen like Count Basie. All three musicians are not only young but also extremely talented. Torsten Goode plays some
excellent guitar solos (note his fluent solo on Jumpin’ at the Woodside) as well as strumming along in Freddie Green style to anchor the rhythm.
The rhythm is also provided by organist Andi Kissenbeck. Andi has a relaxed yet swinging style reminiscent of Count Basie when he was playing the organ.
Last but not least comes tenor saxist Gabor Bolla. In a tribute
to the Basie Band, can anyone match the brilliance of such Basie sidemen
as Lester Young, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis or Frank Foster? Gabor is not
quite up to their standard but he plays very well. Pete York comments:
”For a drummer it is exciting that Gabor can play with rhythmic accuracy
at high tempos, relax over the medium tempos and be beautiful on ballads”.
“Tribute bands” seldom reach the heights achieved by the musicians they represent, but this quartet reaches a high standard, thanks to first-class
musicians and well-balanced arrangements. In tracks like Splanky, the arrangement gives the ensemble the thrust of the Basie Band. And all four
men can swing with the same sort of ease for which Basie was renowned.