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Articles | Featured | Future

UNDER THE RADAR

Blue Highways and Sweet Music: The Territory Bands, Part I

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Part 1 | Part 2 OriginsBy the second half of the 1920s, New York had supplanted jny: Chicago as the center of jazz. The “Jazz Age"--a label incorrectly ascribed to F. Scott Fitzgerald--could rationally have been framed as the “Dance Age." Prohibition, and the speakeasies that it spawned, were packed with wildly enthusiastic patrons of the jny: Charleston, Black Bottom, Shimmy, Collegiate Shag, the jny: Baltimore and the Lindy Hop. It was often a simple step or two ...

BOOK REVIEWS

Good Morning Blues

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Good Morning Blues: The Autobiography of Count Basie as told to Albert Murray William James Basie 399 Pages ISBN: 978-1-5179-0143-1 University of Minnesota Press 2016 (1985) In May 1959 Count Basie and his Orchestra played a “Breakfast Dance and Barbecue," like back in Kansas City, hosted by Roulette Records, for whom Basie had recently started to record. Lord, what a band: Thad Jones, Joe Newman,, Snooky Young and Wendell Culley on trumpet; ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Count Basie Orchestra at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

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Count Basie Orchestra Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts Scottsdale, Arizona December 19, 2015 The Count Basie Orchestra solidified its 80-year reputation for strong swingability, inventive solo segments and supreme section cohesion during two back-to-back concerts on a tour in support of the band's first-ever Christmas-theme album. But those seasonal charts didn't dominate the program, instead were scattered like raisins in a melodic holiday pudding. Several soloists cleverly injected Christmas-song snippets into the band's expected ...

BAILEY'S BUNDLES

Christmas 2015 V: A Concord Christmas – David Benoit, Jane Monheit and the Count Basie Orchestra

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Well, it ain't over 'til it's over...The Concord Music Group issued two notable Holiday releases. The David Benoit Trio with Jane Monheit and the All American Boys Chorus Believe Concord 2015 What Believe is, is a slick updating of Vince Guraladi's A Charlie Brown Christmas (Fantasy, 1965), which celebrates its Golden Anniversary this year. There is good, as well as bad, in that statement. The newly-minted holiday compositions “Believe" and ...

BUILDING A JAZZ LIBRARY

Count Basie

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In 1935, pianist William “Count" Basie (born August 21, 1904), a fixture on the jny: Kansas City jazz scene since the late 1920s, organized his own rocking, riffing, blues-based big band. The following year this freewheeling unit came east and took New York by storm. For the next decade and a half, Basie's stellar cast--which included such original jazz stylists as tenor saxophonists Lester Young and Herschel Evans, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry “Sweets" Edison, trombonist Dickie Wells, drummer Jo ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Frank Sinatra & Count Basie: Sinatra-Basie: The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings

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Fifty years ago, Reprise Records heralded its first release. The label was founded by singer/actor/entertainer Frank Sinatra, who had been with Capitol Records since 1953 and was yearning for total creative freedom; something he felt was denied to him, despite his enormous commercial and critical success. His own first release on the label was, not surprisingly, ebullient, and with Concord Records now handling Sinatra's Reprise catalog, Ring-a-Ding, Ding! (1961) has been remastered, along with My Way (1969) ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Count Basie: Basie's Beatles Bag

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Many recording artists covered The Beatles in the '60s; even their own producer, George Martin, released George Martin Instrumentally Salutes The Beatle Girls (One Way, 1966). Pianist/bandleader Count Basie recorded two albums of Beatles tunes in that decade: Basie's Beatles Bag (Verve, 1966) and Basie On The Beatles (Happy Tiger, 1969). Both discs contain vital versions of John Lennon/Paul McCartney classics, but Basie's Beatles Bag is rawer and more cohesive. Arranged by Chico O'Farrill, it selects some ...

DVD/FILM REVIEWS

Count Basie: Live in Berlin & Stockholm 1968

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Count Basie Live in Berlin & Stockholm 1968 Impro Jazz 2009

Every jazz fan, while listening to an album by one of their favorite legends of the genre, occasionally closes their eyes to imagine what it might have been like actually to be there for the recording itself. Due to the fact that jazz performances and recording sessions were in the past so rarely filmed (and because time travel has yet to ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Count Basie: Swiss Radio Days, Vol. 20: Mustermesse Basel 1956, Pt. 2; On My Way & Shoutin' Again! & Swinging, Singing, Playing

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Count Basie OrchestraSwiss Radio Days, Vol. 20: Mustermesse Basel 1956, Pt. 2 TCB2009 Count BasieOn My Way & Shoutin' Again!Verve2009 Count Basie OrchestraSwinging, Singing, PlayingMack Avenue2009 If the rhythm section of Count Basie's Old Testament big band of the '30s-40s is remembered as the “All-American Rhythm ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Count Basie Orchestra: Swinging, Singing, Playing

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Count Basie OrchestraSwinging, Singing, PlayingMack Avenue2009 Although over a quarter-century has elapsed since the passing of William “Count" Basie in 1984, the bandleader and pianist's legacy has proved one of the most durable from the big band era, and the Basie band's Swinging, Singing, Playing maintains the Basie tradition and carries it triumphantly into the new millennium. Dennis Wilson (not to be confused with his late Beach Boys namesake), who served in ...