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.
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).
Joe Williams' debut as the featured vocalist in Count Basie's band was one of those landmark moments that even savvy observers don't fully appreciate when it occurs, then realize years later how momentous an event they witnessed. Williams brought a different presence to the great Basie orchestra than the one Jimmy Rushing provided; he couldn't shout like Rushing, but he was more effective on romantic and sentimental material, while he was almost as spectacular on surging blues, up-tempo wailers, and stomping standards. Basie's band maintained an incredible groove behind Williams, who moved from authoritative statements on "Every Day I Have the Blues" and "Please Send Me Someone to Love" to brisk workouts on "Roll 'Em Pete" and his definitive hit, "All Right, OK, You Win".