All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

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...

415

Count Basie Orchestra: Basie Is Back

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
No, the Count isn't literally back... in fact, he's never really been away, as the Count Basie Orchestra has kept rolling along under a series of leaders since Basie's death in April 1984. This latest incarnation, directed by the Count's longtime bass trombonist Bill Hughes, was recorded in concert in October '05 at Denryoku Hall in Sendai, Japan. Following in the footsteps of Basie's Old Testament and New Testament bands, Aaron Woodward writes in his liner notes, "We are calling this the 'Born Again' era of the Count Basie Orchestra.

Having seen the orchestra in person less than a year ago, I can bear witness that the music on offer is rather typical of what one would hear at any of the couple hundred concert dates the band plays all over the world in a given year. Included are Basie classics by Freddie Green, Frank Foster, Ernie Wilkins, Frank Wess, Neal Hefti and the Count himself, interspersed with vocals by Melba Joyce ("Body and Soul, "Lover Come Back to Me ), songs by Ellington ("In a Mellow Tone ) and the Duke's sax section anchor, Harry Carney ("We're in Love Again, a handsome showcase for baritone John Williams) and the inevitable encore (and Basie's most celebrated success), Wild Bill Davis' inspired arrangement of the standard "April in Paris ("one... more... time! )

While one can certainly argue the merits of "ghost bands and their place in the musical universe, there's no debating the fact that the present edition of the Basie Orchestra is a first-rate ensemble that does nothing to tarnish the Count's image. True, the Kid is no longer there to count off the tempos, and his legendary soloists and sidemen are long gone as well, but the Basie legacy is nonetheless in capable hands with Hughes and his (relatively) young cohorts. When the Count was alive the orchestra had a number of superlative drummers, most notably Jo Jones, Sonny Payne and the present occupant of the drum chair, veteran Butch Miles, who makes sure the rhythm never falters and is featured prominently on Hefti's high-flying "Whirlybird.

With Miles setting the compass and pianist Tony Suggs offering a respectable impression of the Count, the orchestra need only give these time-honored charts due diligence, which with these gentlemen is a given. Although some may wish to hear more up-to-date compositions and arrangements, Hughes and the others would no doubt answer that they are simply giving the audience what it wants. There's certainly nothing wrong with that, but potential listeners should be advised that this concert performance, even though taped only two years ago, is vintage Basie in a newly wrapped package.


Track Listing: Corner Pocket; Discommotion; Blues in Hoss

Personnel: Bill Hughes: leader, trombone; Scotty Barnhart, Michael Williams, Shawn Edmonds, Endre Rice: trumpet; Marshall McDonald, Grant Langford: alto sax; Doug Miller, Doug Lawrence: tenor sax; John Williams: baritone sax; Clarence Banks, Alvin Walker, David Keim, Barry Cooper: trombone; Tony Suggs: piano; Will Matthews: guitar; James Leary: bass; Butch Miles: drums; Melba Joyce: vocals.

Title: Basie Is Back | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Village Music

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Origins CD/LP/Track Review
Origins
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Bright Force CD/LP/Track Review
Bright Force
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Say It CD/LP/Track Review
Say It
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Alchemia Garden CD/LP/Track Review
Alchemia Garden
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Don't You Wish CD/LP/Track Review
Don't You Wish
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: April 20, 2018
Read Making Other Arrangements CD/LP/Track Review
Making Other Arrangements
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 19, 2018
Read "Lucille" CD/LP/Track Review Lucille
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "Words And Music" CD/LP/Track Review Words And Music
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 30, 2017
Read "Evidence - Music of Thelonious Monk" CD/LP/Track Review Evidence - Music of Thelonious Monk
by Patrick Burnette
Published: November 27, 2017
Read "Gratified Never Satisfied" CD/LP/Track Review Gratified Never Satisfied
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 16, 2017
Read "Mu'U" CD/LP/Track Review Mu'U
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 6, 2017
Read "La Terza Via" CD/LP/Track Review La Terza Via
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: February 9, 2018