And the Kansas City 7
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Count Basie was visiting some old musical territory when he recorded this CD in 1962, but he was also enjoying the qualities of his sidemen. While "Shoe Shine Boy" and "Lady Be Good" look back to his late 1930s small group recordings with Lester Young, there are also new tunes by Basie, cornetist Thad Jones, and flutist Frank Wess. The septet has the Basie big band's rhythm section, with Freddie Green on guitar, Ed Jones on bass, and Sonny Payne on drums, all underpinning the leader's spare and graceful piano punctuations. Thad Jones and multi-reed player Eric Dixon are joined on five tracks by Frank Foster on tenor and clarinet and on three by Wess to complete the septet. It's an engaging band, with an air of characteristic Basie ease. Jones is a particularly inventive soloist, and his shifting mutes add to the surprising tone colors from the reeds. Within the swinging Basie framework, contrasts abound. The riffing tenors of "Count's Place" supply a big band in miniature, and Basie even plays organ on "I Want a Little Girl," a dreamlike slow tune with a serene clarinet solo from Dixon. --Stuart Broomer
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* This recording is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
~ Oh, Lady, Be Good (Ira Gershwin) 4:40 ~ Basie's 1938 version of this tune is famous for being the recording debut of Lester Young. In this 1962 version, Basie sets a bouncing dance tempo over which Dixon, Jones, and Foster provide sparkling solos.
~ Secrets (Frank Wess) 4:08 ~ This jaunty track features Wess on alto flute, Jones on muted trumpet, Dixon on C flute, and some great brush work by Payne.
~ I Want a Little Girl (Murray Mencher / Billy Moll) 4:16 ~ With Jones on wa-wa trumpet, Foster on tenor, Dixon on clarinet, and Basie on organ, this track is tune is taken at a slow melancholy pace.
~ Shoe Shine Boy (Sammy Cahn / Saul Chaplin) 4:07 ~ This is an updated version of a 1936 Basie clasic with great ensemble playing by everybody.
~ Count's Place (Count Basie) 5:28 ~ Typical Basie ... a catchy riff-based tune featuring some fine Basie piano and Payne drumming.
~ Senator Whitehead (Frank Wess) 4:12 ~ With the same instrumentation as "Secrets" this piece dances along at a swinging fast pace.
~ Tally-Ho, Mr. Basie! (Count Basie) 4:28 ~ Another great riff-based Basie tune with more great playing from Basie and his band.
~ What'Cha Talkin'? (Thad Jones) 4:59 ~ A distinctive Jones piece with excellent execution of the ensemble passages by Jones, Foster, Wess, and Dixon.
~ Trey of Hearts (Thad Jones) 3:43 ~ A bonus track that was not included in the original vinyl LP, this track gives Count Basie a chance to shine on piano.
NOTE: This CD on the Impulse! Label should not be confused with a CD issued in 1980 on the Pablo label with an almost identical title Kansas City 7.
The strength of Basie's big band, after all, often comes from treating the band as a small and rhythmically compact unit, with different sections tight as can be, thus combining the intensity of smaller bands with the rich and creamy big band sound.
This cd is simply magnificent, utilizing virtuoso horn of Thad Jones and great saxes, clarinet and flute skills of Eric Dixon, Frank Wess and Frank Foster, with exquisit rhythm section headed by Basie (on organ for subtle "I Want a Little Girl") and irreplacable rhythm guitar of Freddie Green.
This is Basie in the best pre WW-II wain.
However, many song (such as "Shoe Shine Boy" and "What'cha Talkin'") also investigate the possibilites of more modern and cool sound (with emphasis on the sound of flute rather than the mighty sound of the tenor sax), never sacrifising the true sense of swing and the power of Basie's original approach.
Highly recomendable record for all swing and mainstream fans! I wonder what Thad Jones, in his personal musical choises usually more modernist than Basie, thought of this great album?
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pays-off in a big way with this small ensemble.Read more