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Backgrounders: Basie With Quincy and Hefti


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In 1958, the French Vogue label put out a double LP in Europe entitled Count Basie Plays Quincy Jones & Neal Hefti. Essentially, it was a re-issue of two previous Roulette releases—Basie One More Time: Music From the Pen of Quincy Jones (1960) and Basie Plays Hefti (1958). Both are classics in the Basie canon and remain masterpieces today.

Quincy Jones and Neal Hefti, alone with Ernie Wilkins and Frank Foster were among the leading composer-arrangers for Basie's New Testament band—as the reconstituted Basie band was known when it was formed in 1952. The Basie orchestra from 1935 to 1950 was the Old Testament band.

What's interesting about Hefti and Jones is their different approach to the Basie canvas. Hefti's arrangements tended to be more hook-centric, sectionally coy and tightly explosive whereas Jones's writing was more wide-ranging in its phrasing, bluesier in execution and romantically lush.

Since JazzWax celebrated Basie Week accidentally (because I felt like it), I'm giving you two Backgrounders today—the two albums mentioned above, without ad interruptions...

Here's Basie Plays Hefti (move the space bar to 1:59:333)...

Here's Basie One More Time...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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