In 1964, Count Basie handed the reins of his band over to composer and arranger Billy Byers, purportedly to modernize his sound to the times. More accurately, Byers energized the band with his bright charts loaded with counterpointed exchanges and interplay, plus a depth and density the Basie band had long since relinquished to other similarly sized groups. With stellar personnel - including Eric Dixon, Frank Foster, Frank Wess, Marshall Royal, Al Aarons, and Don Rader - Byers and Basie stoked the coals of the band with some red hot bop and intricate charts atypical to the laid-back approach that always served the band and its fans well…
When Count Basie returned to Verve Records in 1962, Neal Hefti was contracted to write the tunes and arrangements, a revival of their partnership from the 1958 Roulette LP Basie Plays Hefti. While none of these selections is as famous as his songs like "Cute," "Little Pony," "Splanky," "Li'l Darlin'," and "Repetition," the substantial originality of this music is hard to deny, not to mention that the expert musicians playing his music bring these tracks fully to life in a livelier fashion than most laid-back Basie studio sessions. In fact, it has the feeling of a concert date that trumps the more clean, controlled environment of a session that was recorded on a three-track reel-to-reel…
Throughout his career, Count Basie was modest about his own abilities as a pianist, and his success at streamlining his style to the bare essentials often made listeners underrate his playing talents. This 1974 session was a rarity, an opportunity for Basie to be featured in a trio setting (with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Louie Bellson), during which he provides enough variety to hold one's interest and enough technique to lead many to reassess his piano skills.
Some of Count Basie's finest recordings were cut for the Roulette label during 1957-1962, and all of his studio performances are included on this massive Mosaic ten-CD boxed set. Among the classic former LPs that are reissued here are The Atomic Mr. Basie, Basie Plays Hefti, Chairman of the Board, Everyday I Have the Blues, and Kansas City Suite. With such soloists as trumpeters Thad Jones and Joe Newman, the tenors of Frank Foster and Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Frank Wess on alto and flute, vocals by Joe Williams, and the timeless arrangements of Neal Hefti, Thad Jones, Frank Foster, Ernie Wilkins, and Frank Wess among others, this essential (but unfortunately limited-edition) set features the second Count Basie Orchestra at its very best.
Each box contains 25 slipcase CDs, a booklet (up to 186 pages) and an index. The booklets contain extensive notes (Eng/Fr) with recording dates and line-ups. 31 hours of music in each box, totalling 1677 tracks Each track has been restored and mastered from original sources. The only reason I can think of for there not yet being a review of these four boxed sets, is that those who own them are just too busy having one hell of a blast listening to them. Some people moan about the 50 year copyright law for audio recordings in Europe, but without it this highly entertaining, eye-opening and educational undertaking could never have taken place. These 100 discs (spread over four boxed sets of 25 discs) tell the story of jazz from 1898 to 1959.
Awesome 100 CD set containing a plethora of classic Big Band sounds from the era when Benny Goodman's 'Let's Dance' became the motto of an entire country…in fact, the whole world! The Big Band Box takes you from the formation of the original Big Band of Fletcher Henderson to the 17-piece line-up of Stan Kenton's Progressive Jazz. This 100-CD set is a fantastic tour through almost all the big bands / directors of note from the 1930s to 1950.
All the tunes recorded by this legendary label. Each volume represents one year's recording activity: 1937, 1938 and 1939. Featuring Lester Young, Buck Clayton, Jo Jones, among others. Newly remastered. I don't have much to say about this compilation. Hey, it's Count Basie from the late 1930s! What more need be said?! Just listen to the "skeletal" piano by the genius Count Basie. Talk about the use of white space! And, of course, that absolutely KILLER rhythm section! I will mention that all of the tracks are presented in the sequence they were recorded except for the alternate takes which are at the end of each disc respectively. Presumably, the alts presented here were recorded at the same time as the masters (as implied, though not overtly stated, in the booklet).