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First Time: The Count Meets the Duke

Extra Tracks, Reissued

4.6 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Extra tracks, April 27, 1999
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Product description

First Time: The Count Meets the Duke

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Take the Kansas City-style streamlined swing of Count Basie's band and put it together with the omni-American "total jazz" of the Duke Ellington Orchestra and you've got one memorable session. Recorded in 1961 and reissued with unreleased, rehearsal, and alternate takes, the date has a friendly after-hours feel, with the Ellington crew in the right channel and the Basie band in the left. They both deliver the type of no-nonsense straight-ahead jazz that characterized the best of the big-band sound: Ellington's brisk 4/4 opener "Battle Royal" features some stratospheric blowing by tenor saxophonist Frank Wess and trumpeter Cat Anderson along with a volcanic drum "conversation" between Sam Woodyard and Sonny Payne. The sound of the locomotive drives the midtempo "Corner Pocket," the Basie-associated standard by guitarist Freddie Green, steered by saxophonist Paul Gonsalves's robust tenor sax. "Segue in C" showcases Ellington and Basie's Fats Waller-Willie "the Lion" Smith stride-piano roots, with the former's dark chord clusters and the latter's feathery in-the-pocket phrasing. The ballad "To You" is marked by cascading horn harmonies laced with Ellington trombonist Quentin "Butter" Jackson's pleading muted solo. The Basie-Ellington hits "Jumpin' at the Woodside" and "Take the 'A' Train"--with composer Billy Strayhorn tickling the ivories in place of Basie--bring out the best in Basie, Foster, Gonsalves, and trumpeter Ray Nance, and they trade fours and cap this amazing encounter. --Eugene Holley Jr.

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Product details

  • Audio CD (April 27, 1999)
  • Original Release Date: 1961
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Extra tracks
  • Label: Columbia / Legacy
  • ASIN: B00000IMYM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 48 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #206,623 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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