Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

208

Count Basie Orchestra: Atomic Swing

By

Sign in to view read count
Count Basie usually brings to mind a legendary rhythm section, Lester Young, Buck Clayton, and such singers as Jimmy Rushing and Billie Holiday. But after World War II, long after his most famous orchestra dissolved, Basie put together another that is among the finest big bands in the history of jazz. Count Basie: Atomic Swing provides all the evidence the most doubtful listener could demand. This is classic jazz.

Capitol Records and Roulette Jazz provide an excellent selection of Basie recordings from 1957 to 1962. The 20-bit Super Bit Mapping sound quality allows the listener to hear in detail what is rarely heard on older, big band recordings. In short, the sections are comprised of individual horn/reed players each with distinct personalities who combine synergistically. The distinct voices can be parsed or you can step back for the larger picture. The same level of sound detail comes forward in the rhythm section: this is a dynamic almost three dimensional recording.

The first track, "The Daly Jump" opens with a concise, quirky Basie solo, followed by the entrance of the rhythm section that rolls in like an ocean wave. There’s a quick exchange between the reeds and horns, and then Thad Jones offers a stately trumpet solo followed by a heated Frank Foster solo on tenor, all the while the rhythm section and reed/horns are cooking. In short, this track unfolds like great big band jazz, which it is.

The following track, Earl Warren’s "9:20 Special" is even better with exchanges between the sections that are a lesson in what arranging is all about. Solos by Basie, Frank Wess, Frank Foster, and Joe Newman are interspersed beautifully with the section exchanges. If you’re not familiar with the rhythm section of Count Basie on piano, Freddie Green on guitar, Eddie Jones on bass, and Sonny Payne on drums you are in for a treat.

However good the musicians are Atomic Swing is ultimately an arrangers’ showcase. The streamlined interactions between the soloists and the sections highlights that big band jazz is an ensemble medium. The soloists are acutely attuned to the sections and vice versa and everyone is attuned to the purposes of the arrangers and composers. The musical intelligence of this orchestra is almost palpable. The impressive lineup of arrangers includes Ernie Wilkens, Eddie Durham, Count Basie, Buster Harding, Buck Clayton, Quincy Jones, Frank Foster, Neal Hefti, and Jimmy Mundy. It should be mentioned that this CD coheres. It doesn’t have the random feel of so many compilations. The variety of styles moves together like an inspired live set. Highly recommended.

Track Listing: The Daly Jump; 9:20 Special; Fair and Warmer; I Got It Bad And That Ain't Good; Out the Window; Taps Miller; Moten Swing; The Midnite Sun Never Sets; Teddy the Toad; Rock-A-Bye Basie; The Late, Late Show; Back to the Apple; Li'l Darlin.' (48:52)

Personnel: Joe Newman,Thad Jones, Wendell Culley,trumpets; Benny Powell, Henry Coker, trombonists; Marshall Royal, Frank Wess, Frank Foster, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, saxophonists; Count Basie, piano; Freddie Green, guitar; Eddie Jones, bass; and Sonny Payne, drums.

Title: Atomic Swing | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Capitol Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Higher Album Reviews
Higher
By Tyran Grillo
May 26, 2019
Read The Unlonely Raindancer Album Reviews
The Unlonely Raindancer
By Matt Parker
May 26, 2019
Read Pyramid Scheme Album Reviews
Pyramid Scheme
By Mark Sullivan
May 26, 2019
Read Mosaismic Album Reviews
Mosaismic
By Mike Jurkovic
May 26, 2019
Read Caldera / Sky Islands Album Reviews
Caldera / Sky Islands
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 25, 2019
Read Baby, Please Come Home Album Reviews
Baby, Please Come Home
By Doug Collette
May 25, 2019
Read Reckless Heart Album Reviews
Reckless Heart
By Doug Collette
May 25, 2019