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The Essential Count Basie, Vol. 1

Count BasieAudio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 16 Songs, 1987 $9.99  
Audio CD, 1990 --  
Audio Cassette, 1991 --  

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Oh, Lady, Be Good! (Album Version)Jones-Smith Incorporated;Count Basie 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Goin' to Chicago Blues (Album Version)Count Basie 3:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Live And Love Tonight (78rpm Version)Basie's Bad Boys 3:03$0.69  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Love Me or Leave Me (78rpm Version)Basie's Bad Boys 2:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Rock-A-Bye BasieCount Basie & His Orchestra 3:00$0.69  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Baby, Don't Tell On Me (Album Version)Count Basie;Count Basie & His Orchestra 2:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. If I Could Be With You One Hour Tonight (Album Version)Count Basie;Count Basie & His Orchestra 2:56$0.69  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Taxi War Dance (Alternate Take)Count Basie & His Orchestra 2:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Jump For Me (Album Version)Count Basie & His Orchestra; with Lester Young 3:08$0.69  Buy MP3 
listen10. Twelfth Street Rag (78rpm Version)Count Basie & His Orchestra 3:01$0.69  Buy MP3 
listen11. Miss Thing, Part 1 (78rpm Version)Count Basie & His Orchestra 2:52$0.69  Buy MP3 
listen12. Miss Thing, Part 2 (78rpm Version)Count Basie & His Orchestra 2:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Lonesome Miss Pretty (78rpm Version)Count Basie & His Orchestra 2:50$0.69  Buy MP3 
listen14. Nobody Knows (Album Version)Count Basie;Count Basie & His Orchestra 2:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Pound Cake (78rpm Version)Count Basie & His Orchestra 2:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. How Long Blues (Album Version)Count Basie & His Orchestra 2:56$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00000269U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #237,412 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Count Basie's Columbia recordings from the late 1930s are an essential part of the legacy of one of the greatest big bands of jazz history. The Kansas City territory bands of Walter Page and Bennie Moten were legendary for their swing and powerful riffing style, and the energy of those bands and their best musicians coalesced into the supreme musical instrument of the early Basie band. Propelled by the incomparable rhythm section of guitarist Freddie Green, bassist Page, and drummer Jo Jones, the music here brims with exultant life, a string of great solos cascading out of the pumping horn sections. Basie's sparse and precise recasting of stride piano is a delight, and there are vocals by Jimmy Rushing, the master of big band blues shouting. --Stuart Broomer

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great, historically important music in poor display September 3, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
In the late 30's and early 40's, Count Basie had the greatest swing band in history (unless you count Duke Ellington's band at the time, which aspired to much more than swing). During that time, he made his first and best recordings with Decca and Columbia. Personally, I prefer the Decca recordings, which are available in the definitive Basie set, "The Complete Decca Recordings." When he started recording for Columbia after his Decca contract expired, some of the band's trademark sounds were becoming dangerously close to cliches, but the music they made was still incredible. It was impossible for a band like Basie's to make anything bad, but I don't want to give the impression that the music was second-rate. As one can see from this compilation, "The Essential Basie Vol. I," cuts like "Taxi War Dance" and "Oh Lady Be Good" are some of the absolute best. Lester Young himself was simply stunning, playing some of his most beautiful solos, particularly on "Oh Lady Be Good," a recording that was actually made before the band's tenure at Decca. Lester's recording debut on that track is possibly one of the greatest in history, and some consider his solo on it to be his best.
Despite the high quality of music, this CD was made in the late 80's, during which Columbia released a well-intentioned but ultimately poor-sounding line of CD's featuring their classic jazz catalog. The sound is so muted, so weedy, so raspy that it sounds like an old fifth-generation cassette copy found in someone's old car. One obvious culprit is the use of noise reduction processing that sucked the life out of these recordings, compressing them into middle range.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I am not lukewarm about it, although I consider the last part of the Decca sides to be the creme de la creme, this is creme. This is the band smoothed out, its intonantion even, its instruments up graded, and arranged well, and providing a fantastic platform for Lester Young's maginficent solos. Some believe that the Taxi Dancer's War Dance here is Lester Young's greatest performance. These are the initial recordings Basie made on Columbia, after he had gotten out of his infamous 700 buck contract with Decca and was now on Columbia produced by John Hammond Sr who was essentially Basie's manager, benefactor, and perhaps too great a manipulator of the band.

A great extra here is the "Lady Be Good" from the Smith and Jones session, a small group set of Lester Young, Tatie Smith a Trumpet player who didnt last once the band hit New York, Joe Jones, Walter Page, and Basie, recorded in Chicago in 1936 while the Basie Band was enroute from Kansas City to the big time in New York. Hammond had hoped to sign the band to Columbia, but Kapp from Decca snuck in and signed one of the most exploitative contracts in history--700 bucks to Basie for three years of recordings, nothing to the musicians!!!!! Hammond did do these small group sides Shoe Shine Boy, Evening, Boogie Woogie, and the great Lady Be Good here, and released under sidemen Tatti Smith and Joe Jones names.

Aw well, the other treat here are the Organ Blues here with Jimmie Rushing signing, and Lester Young playing clarinet, the classic "Going to Chicago," and the mislabeled on Amazon "Nobody Knows" which is not Nobody Knows you when you are down and out.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Band Treasure July 20, 2006
Format:Audio CD
At the time these recordings were made, Basie's band was equal to Ellington's, sharing the position of the top jazz big band; in later decades Basie led some excellent big bands, but guys like Frank Wess, Joe Newman, Thad Jones or Frank Foster could hardly replace Lester Young, Buck Clayton, Harry Edison, Dickie Wells or Buddy Tate...
All of these classical swing artists are well showcased on this essential CD (Young also plays clarinet); many of their solos you'll find here are often cited as their best work - for example Young's work on Lady be Good (actually recorded on a famous "Jones-Smith Inc." quintet date in 1936) or Taxy War Dance; I'm personally very much thrilled by work on Miss Thing as well...
Collaboration between Jimmy Rushing and Wells is also essential, Harry Edison is a master but, while studying this CD I was particularly amazed by the subtlety of Buck Clayton's playing.
As for the leader, his piano and organ work leaves me at loss for words.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars part of any complete collection August 15, 1998
Format:Audio CD
so many wonderful cuts on this -- TAxi War Dance, Jump for Me, Pound Cake, Miss Thing. Young is astounding, and the ensemble band wonderful.
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