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.
Producer Norman Granz occasionally got carried away with the quantity of his recording projects. In 1974 he recorded a full album teaming fellow pianists Count Basie and Oscar Peterson in a rhythm quintet; little did anyone realize that this then-unique matchup would eventually result in five albums. This first one, which finds Basie doubling on organ, is among the best. Peterson's virtuosic style somehow worked very well with Basie's sparse playing and these ten numbers really swing.
This CD reissue dates from Thad Jones' single year of leadership of the Count Basie Orchestra before his health began to fail. Caterina Valente (best known as a pop singer) has a warm voice and sounds comfortable singing in a jazz-influenced middle-of-the-road style. There is little improvisation on the date and Thad Jones' arrangements leave surprisingly little space for solos; his only appearance on cornet is on "Solitude."
This superb 5-CD collection compiles all existing live recordings made by the Atomic band at the Crescendo Club, in Hollywood, in the summer of 1958, for the first time ever on a single edition. The sound quality is excellent throughout the set. Count Basie’s career was revived in late 1957 thanks to the success of the Neal Hefti-arranged LP Atomic Basie, which became one of his biggest hits. The orchestra was filled with stars, and Joe Williams’ vocals were heard to great effect supported by Hefti’s excellent scores and the superb quality of the band.
The first DVD of Ralph Gleason's Jazz Casual TV series combines three separate 30-minute programs previously available individually as videos; obviously this is the better way to acquire them, both financially and from a preservation standpoint. Count Basie's appearance is a bit unusual. Gleason parks himself next to the piano following the opening number and remains there throughout the show, making Basie seem nervous and rather uncomfortable with his host during the interview excerpts and rarely, if ever, looking Gleason in the eye while talking to him.
At first glance this collaboration should not have worked. The Duke Ellington and Count Basie Orchestras had already been competitors for 25 years but the leaders' mutual admiration (Ellington was one of Basie's main idols) and some brilliant planning made this a very successful and surprisingly uncrowded encounter. On most selections Ellington and Basie both play piano (their interaction with each other is wonderful) and the arrangements allowed the stars from both bands to take turns soloing. "Segue in C" is the highpoint but versions of "Until I Met You," "Battle Royal" and "Jumpin' at the Woodside" are not far behind.