Basie scored a smash in '56 with April in Paris , and this mid-'50s LP (featuring the original Basie band) became an instant big-band classic. A slew of alternate takes join that hit!
Count Basie's band endured because of its leader's uncanny ability to put together fresh arrangements and strong soloists while maintaining the band's unique devotion to swing; this CD is among the most enduring of the big band recordings of the 1950s. The title tune is present in a justifiably famous rendition, a performance of swaggering swing and passion that was arranged by organist "Wild Bill" Davis. Frank Foster's "Shiny Stockings," now a jazz standard, made its debut here, while Joe Newman's "Midgets" recasts the band as a bop combo. Throughout the recording are terrific solos by trumpeters Thad Jones and Newman and tenor saxophonists Foster and Frank Wess, all basking in the band's glorious swing. --Stuart Broomer