Chairman of the Board
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Tenor saxophonist Frank Foster, trumpeter Thad Jones and alto sax/flutist Frank Wess wrote and arranged all but one of the 10 tracks from the original album (the CD reissue also has two bonus cuts), and the result is the perfect blend of shining songwriting and powerful improvs.
Case in point: Foster's classic "Blues In Hoss' Flat," a tremendous machine powered by Sonny Payne's energetic but restrained drumming. It features grooving solos by trumpeter Joe Newman and trombonist Henry Coker. And its pace is the perfect demonstration of the "in-the-pocket" tempo Basie preferred for his songs -- quick enough to swing and jump, but steady enough that everybody can dig the beat.
Jones provides another winner in "H.R.H," a shimmering instrumental that opens in a fanfare of trumpets, then showcases a nice Al Grey trombone passage, before letting Grey and the saxes build the drama, which climaxes with a forceful trumpet finale. "Kansas City Shout," by Basie's former sax player Ernie Wilkins, is another gem, with a riveting arrangement bouncing the trumpets off the saxes.
And Jones's track "The Deacon" is simply holy -- a passionate, brilliantly-arranged set of swinging blues that showcases the author's -- and trombonist Grey's -- abilities to make their instruments sing like rapturous churchgoer. Taking its time here, framed by a long F note held by the horns -- the band builds to a wonderful climax.Read more ›
As mentioned in the many fine reviews here, the selections are based on arrangements made by band members Thad Jones; the two Franks, saxophonists Frank Foster and Frank Wess; and ex-member Ernie Wilkins. The ten cuts on the original album have been augmented by two additional numbers, including 'Molten Swing', an updated version of an early Basie classic.
All the recordings are from 1958 - anyone hesitant about the age of the sources should not be - this is one of the golden ages of recording, and this recording exemplifies all that was so sensational about the best records then. The digital reprocessing - done in state of the art 24-bit sounds very very good.
Six pages of great notes by Bob Bernotas on the musicians, with short descriptions and details for each piece rounds off this perfect CD issue.
Five stars is the very least it deserves. Highest possible recommendation!
Take for instance "SEGUE IN C", composed by Frank Wess (alto sax, flute) is typical Basie, each cue is laid back with the Count answering with his plunk of the keyboard. Another tune "KANSAS CITY SHOUT", gives the band a total workout, as they respond to the occasion with a hip sound of brass.
Total Time: 48:04 on 12 Tracks ~ Roulette Jazz 81664 ~ (6/24/2003)
This one is focused on members of the band who besides being excellent musicians, are very prolific as composers: Frank Foster, Frank Wess, Thad Jones and Ernie Wilkins, a former saxaphonist with the band. All of the compositions in this album were composed and arranged by these gentlemen with the exception of " Moten Swing" which was arranged by Ernie Wilkins.
The opener, "Blues In Hoss' Flat", has long been a favorite ever since I saw Jerry Lewis do a pantomine (chairman of the board?) in a 1954 movie. I didn't even know it was Count Basie at the time.
This album features so much good blues and soloists such as Frank Wess, both on tenor sax and flute, the magnificent Al Grey on trombone as well as Henry Coker, Joe Newman and Thad Jones on trumpets, Benny Powell on trombone , Frank Foster and Billy Mitchell on tenors, and Snooky Young on both muted and open trumpets. Not the least is the piano passages by Basie , the driving drums by Sonny Payne, with the whole rhythm section anchored by the guitar of Freddie Green.
This is "happy" music by a band known for its cohesion and unity......every selection enjoyable! I believe this is a necessity for your collection if you enjoy big band, and particularly Basie. I know that I enjoyed this album enough to purchase it on cd when I discovered it had been re-released.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a gift to my mother and she was very happy. Product was exactly as described.Published 19 months ago by Lbart44
Really good.Get live "Breakfast Dabce and Barbecue" if you want a great live (this is studio) date.Published 23 months ago by C. Katz
Raised on the kid from "Red Bank"! "Blues in Hoss's Flat" (Priceless)!!!!!Published on July 7, 2014 by Jamie
This is the best of so many great albums the band has performed. It showcases all the great musicians within the band.Published on April 30, 2014 by Alan Hickman
Excellent Timing on the S&H!!!! It Holds perfectly and has great tension in the spring and doesn't bear down on the neck and frets of the guitar....EXCELLENT PRODUCT!!!!Published on October 7, 2013 by Karrissian Mickel