Fifty years ago, Reprise Records heralded its first release. The label was founded by singer/actor/entertainer Frank Sinatra, who had been with Capitol Records since 1953 and was yearning for total creative freedom; something he felt was denied to him, despite his enormous commercial and critical success. His own first release on the label was, not surprisingly, ebullient, and with Concord Records now handling Sinatra's Reprise catalog, Ring-a-Ding, Ding! (1961) has been remastered, along with My Way (1969) and Strangers in the Night (1966). Unlike the other releases to date Sinatra-Basie: The Complete Reprise Studio ...read more
Many recording artists covered The Beatles in the '60s; even their own producer, George Martin, released George Martin Instrumentally Salutes The Beatle Girls (One Way, 1966). Pianist/bandleader Count Basie recorded two albums of Beatles tunes in that decade: Basie's Beatles Bag (Verve, 1966) and Basie On The Beatles (Happy Tiger, 1969). Both discs contain vital versions of John Lennon/Paul McCartney classics, but Basie's Beatles Bag is rawer and more cohesive. Arranged by Chico O'Farrill, it selects some of the more rough and ready Beatles songs, back to Hold Me Tight" and I Wanna Be Your Man," from ...read more
Count Basie Live in Berlin & Stockholm 1968 Impro Jazz 2009
Every jazz fan, while listening to an album by one of their favorite legends of the genre, occasionally closes their eyes to imagine what it might have been like actually to be there for the recording itself. Due to the fact that jazz performances and recording sessions were in the past so rarely filmed (and because time travel has yet to be perfected), it's always a treat to see the true greats in action on the TV screen. Impro Jazz has ...read more
Count Basie OrchestraSwiss Radio Days, Vol. 20: Mustermesse Basel 1956, Pt. 2 TCB2009 Count BasieOn My Way & Shoutin' Again!Verve2009 Count Basie OrchestraSwinging, Singing, PlayingMack Avenue2009 If the rhythm section of Count Basie's Old Testament big band of the '30s-40s is remembered as the All-American Rhythm Section," then the New Testament big band of the later '50s-60s deserves the appellation All-American big band. As sleek, propulsive ...read more
Count Basie OrchestraSwinging, Singing, PlayingMack Avenue2009 Although over a quarter-century has elapsed since the passing of William “Count" Basie in 1984, the bandleader and pianist's legacy has proved one of the most durable from the big band era, and the Basie band's Swinging, Singing, Playing maintains the Basie tradition and carries it triumphantly into the new millennium. Dennis Wilson (not to be confused with his late Beach Boys namesake), who served in the Basie trombone section from 1977-87, first under Basie himself, then under Thad Jones and Frank Foster, returns to conduct ...read more
Memories stay intact with treasures like these. Columbia/Legacy's claim that their Signature Series includes the greatest songs by the greatest artists has considerable credibility. Personal opinions notwithstanding, these are indeed among of the best recordings to come out of the Columbia, Bluebird and Arista labels and the series looks set to preserve a valuable portion of jazz history. Each disc comes with thorough discographical annotation, a brief biography of the artist, and a few photos.
Count Basie One O'Clock Jump Columbia/Legacy 2006
Recorded between 1936 and 1942, ...read more
There is no recipe for success...or is there? Concord's Ray Sings, Basie Swings, reminiscent of past crossover duos, draws upon state-of-the-art technological means to propose a premium posthumous montage. Does this sound formulaic and forced? Maybe, but in the end, they credibly made it more musically attractive than say, yet another best of greatest hits compilation.
Spearheaded by Senior VP of A&R John Burk and producer/drummer Gregg Field, the serendipitous project does swing. And, like Genius Loves Company (Concord, 2004), its Grammy-winning predecessor, Concord retains the promotional support of Starbucks Hear Music's meticulously plotted brand development strategy. Recently, ...read more