Late Night Basie: great idea. Three tracks by the Basie Orchestra and four by other assorted groups: not-so-great idea. Enlisting Jazzmeia Horn to scat on the Basie classic "One O'Clock Jump": rather pointless. Compressing seven numbers (eight, actually) into a meager twenty-fouror perhaps more like twenty-eightminutes (including a "bonus" track): head-scratching. Mind you, the other ensembles represented on the album are not bad; they simply are not Basie. Apart from "One O'Clock Jump," the full Basie Orchestra performs on another masterwork, "Jumpin' at the Woodside," and the theme from the Lee Marvin television series "M Squad," which was later adapted for the short-lived comedy series "Police Squad."
The seven-member rock/fusion group Lettuce, featuring rapper Talib Kweli, opens the album with a run-of-the-mill shuffle called "Didn't You" before the Basie Orchestra leaps in with vocal and instrumental renditions of "One O'Clock Jump" (both listed as Track 2). The ballad "Blue and Sentimental," sung (presumably) by guitarist Rebecca Lovell, whose backup group, Larkin Poe, consists of Megan Lovell (lap steel guitar), bassist Will Lee and drummer Shawn Pelton, precedes the last numbers by the Basie Orchestra, "M Squad" (featuring guest trumpeter Terence Blanchard) and a torrid reading of "Jumpin' at the Woodside" with solos to match by guitarist Jimmy Vivino and an uncredited tenor saxophonist (either Doug Lawrence or Doug Miller).
The Soul Rebels, whose star soloist is trumpeter Nicholas Payton, are lustrous and lively on Sonny Rollins' calypso "St. Thomas," whose crisp djembe solo is by Weedie Braimah with a vocal by the well-named Cimafunk. That leads to the "bonus" track, yet a third restatement of "One O'Clock Jump," this one by trumpeter Danny Jonokuchi & The Revisionists, with nimble solos by the leader, pianist Ben Paterson, alto saxophonist Jay Rattman, trombonist Robert Edwards and a tenor saxophonist, although none is listed among the personnel.
With more Basie, less interlopers and a longer playing time, this could have been an outstanding album. As it is, the Basie Orchestra raises it slightly above average, even though at twenty-four (or even twenty-eight) minutes, it is well shy of generous.
Didn’t You; One O’Clock Jump; Blue & Sentimental; M-Squad; Jumpin’ at the Woodside; St.
Thomas; One O’Clock Jump (bonus track).
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