Thursday, 30 October 2014

24. Count Basie & His Orchestra: 1936-1938

Click here for my original post on Count Basie

I think it's fair to say that Count Basie and the members of his orchestra had a significant impact on the history and direction of jazz after they made their first recordings in 1936. New rules were established. Light airy and tasteful piano licks, walking bass, ride symbol beat and head arrangements from the brass section. Topped off with some exquisite improvisation and you have the recipe for one of the best (if not the best) jazz combos of all time.

This album gets you in at the ground floor. The first four small combo tracks from "Smith Jones Incorporated" (a name used due to contractual difficulties) showcase Lester Young's first ever recorded tracks. This would be a sufficient enough reason to own this album. Yet it continues aplomb with the full orchestra backed by the wonderful vocals of Jimmy Rushing on tracks like Don't You Miss Your Baby, Good Morning Blues and Pennies From Heaven. Check out how Young and Basie play off each other on Roseland Shuffle. Then listen to Young's tenor counterpart Herschel Evans on the track John's Idea. Both completely different sounds from the same intsrument. Both utterly sublime. Of course this was the time that Basie first recorded One O'Clock Jump. 

For a first time recording the band sounds incredibly tight. However this is no accident as all of these guys had been honing their chops since the mid 20´s. It was the social environment of the times that meant they would all be in Kansas City at this particular juncture of history, jamming in smoky bars until the early hours and creating some of the greatest music ever made. (Check out this link for more on my thoughts on the importance of Kansas City at this time)

1. Shoe Shine Boy

2. Evenin'

3. Boogie Woogie

4. Oh, Lady Be Good

5. Honeysuckle Rose

6. Pennies From Heaven

7. Swinging at the Daisy Chain

8. Roseland Shuffle

9. Exactly Like You

10. Boo-Hoo

11. The Glory of Love

12. Boogie Woogie

13. Smarty (You Know It All)

14. One O'Clock Jump

15. Listen My Children (And You Shall Hear)

16. John's Idea

17. Good Morning Blues

18. Our Love Was Meant to Be

19. Time Out

20. Topsy

21. I Keep Remembering

22. Out the Window

23. Don't You Miss Your Baby?

24. Let Me Dream

25. Georgianna