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Basie All Stars: Live At Fabrik Vol. 1


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Basie All Stars: Live At Fabrik Vol. 1
Such are the glories of his band's recorded legacy from the 1930s through the 1950s, that the mere mention of Count Basie's name will trigger a Pavlovian response from his fan base. Like no other, the Count Basie Orchestra epitomised big-band swing at its most sublime; reefer fuelled, riff based, loose and louche Kansas City jazz that is irresistible even in 2023, a life-affirming antidote to the barbarity of DL-only albums, generative music and social media.

Seasoned veterans among Basie devotees will find plenty to enjoy in Live At Fabrik Vol. 1, which was recorded at the Hamburg club on May 5, 1981. The nine-piece ghost band is peopled by such giants and near-giants as trumpeters Harry "Sweets" Edison and Joe Newman, trombonist Benny Powell, alto saxophonist and leader Marshall Royal, and tenor saxophonists Buddy Tate and Billy Mitchell. Edison, Newman and Powell solo effusively and more than once, Royal not as often as one would have liked. They are supported by pianist Nat Pierce, bassist John Heard and drummer Gus Johnson. No-one goes anywhere we have not been many times before, but that is kind of the point. Welcome to Nostalgia City.

The set list is a collection of upbeat Basie warhorses including such late-period classics as Frank Foster's "Shiny Stockings," Neal Hefti's "Little Pony" and Hefti and Basie's "Bluesbird Blues." A second volume of ballad material from the same evening is promised (on which, perhaps, there might be more Marshall Royal).

As noted, this is an album for Basie aficionados. Newbies are directed first to Basie's 1930s' Decca oeuvre—Definitive Decca Best Recordings (Definitive, 1999) is a good one—and classic albums such as April In Paris (Verve, 1956) and The Atomic Mr. Basie (Roulette, 1958). These have Basie on piano and at the helm and, among the lineups, such gods and near-gods as Lester Young, Chu Berry, Buck Clayton, Frank Foster, Snooky Young and Eddie Lockjaw Davis, along with the aforementioned Sweets Edison, Joe Newman, Benny Powell and Marshall Royal.

Track Listing

Bluesbird Blues; Please Send Me Someone To Love; Shiny Stockings; Everything Happens To Me; This Is All I Ask; I’m Confessin’ That I Love You; Little Pony.


Marshall Royal
saxophone, alto
Buddy Tate
saxophone, tenor
Billy Mitchell
Joe Newman
Benny Powell
John Heard
bass, acoustic

Album information

Title: Live At Fabrik Vol. 1 | Year Released: 2023 | Record Label: Jazzline Classics

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