Frank Sinatra & Count Basie – An Historic Musical First (1963)

LPFrontCover1Sinatra–Basie: An Historic Musical First (a.k.a. Sinatra-Basie) is a 1962 studio album by Frank Sinatra, arranged by Neal Hefti.

This was the first recording that Sinatra made with the Count Basie Orchestra. In 1964, Sinatra and Basie would make a final studio recording, It Might as Well Be Swing, orchestrated by Quincy Jones, and Sinatra’s first live album, Sinatra at the Sands (1966) would feature the Basie band.

Sinatra appeared on an episode of The Dinah Shore Show that aired on December 9, 1962, the day before Sinatra-Basie was released, and performed the album’s arrangement of “Please Be Kind”.

According to Will Friedwald’s book, Sinatra! The Song Is You, “Basie didn’t play piano on several of the tracks: ‘The day before the first date, we rehearsed all day, all night’, said Bill Miller, officially serving as contractor. ‘Everybody also came in an hour before so we could go over them again.’ As Joe Bushkin has pointed out, ‘The Basie guys could read as well as any studio band’, but to help them nail the charts even tighter, Sinatra and Miller brought in ace lead trumpeter Al Porcino. Basie was a capable but not an expert reader, Miller continued, ‘and he was very slow to learn new tunes, so on a couple of the songs, he said, “You play it.”‘ Long story short, Bill Miller played piano on ‘Pennies from Heaven.'” (by wikipedia)

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The long-awaited first collaboration between two icons, Count Basie and Frank Sinatra, did something unique for the reputations of both. For Basie, the Sinatra connection inaugurated a period in the ’60s where his band was more popular and better-known than it ever was, even in the big-band era. For Sinatra, Basie meant liberation, producing perhaps the loosest, rhythmically free singing of his career. Propelled by the irresistible drums of Sonny Payne, Sinatra careens up to and around the tunes, reacting jauntily to the beat and encouraging Payne to swing even harder, which was exactly the way to interact with the Basie rhythm machine — using his exquisite timing flawlessly. Also the members of the Basie band play a more prominent role than usual on a Sinatra record, with soloists like Frank Wess — in some of the finest flute work of his life — and tenors Frank Foster and Eric Dixon getting prominent solo opportunities on several of the tracks. The record was criticized by some as a letdown when it came out, probably because Neal Hefti’s charts rarely permit the band to roar, concentrating on use of subtlety and space. Yet the record’s restraint has worn very well over the long haul — it doesn’t beat you into submission — and it concludes with its best shot, a wonderfully playful treatment of “I Won’t Dance.” (by Richard S. Ginell)

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Personnel:
Al Aarons (trumpet)
Count Basie (piano)
Buddy Catlett (bass)
Sonny Cohn (trumpet)
Henry Coker (trombone)
Eric Dixon (flute, saxophone)
Frank Foster (saxophone)
Charlie Fowlkes (saxophone)
Freddie Green (guitar)
Thad Jones (trumpet)
Bill Miller (piano)
Sonny Payne (drums)
Al Porcino (trumpet)
Benny Powell (trombone)
Flip Ricard (trumpet)
Marshall Royal (clarinet, saxophone)
Frank Sinatra (vocals)
Rufus Wagner (trombone)
Frank Wess (flute, saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. Pennies From Heaven (Johnston/Burke) 3.30
02. Please Be Kind (Chaplin/Cahn) 2.44
03. (Love Is) The Tender Trap (Cahn/Van Heusen) 2.37
04. Looking At The World Through Rose Colored Glasses (Steiger/Mailie) 2.32
05. My Kind Of Girl (Bricusse) 4.38
06. I Only Have Eyes For You (Warren/Dubin) 3.31
07. Nice Work If You Can Get It (G.Gershwin/I.Gershwin) 2.38
08. Learnin’ The Blues (Silvers) 4.26
09. I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter (Ahlert/Young) 2.36
10. I Won’t Dance (Kern/McHugh/Hammerstein II/Fields/Harbach) 4.08

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Buddy Rich & His Orchestra – This One’s For Basie (1956)

FrontCover1Drummer Buddy Rich put together an interesting 11-piece group for this tribute to Count Basie. The only Basie alumnus present is trumpeter Harry “Sweets” Edison but the other soloists (trombonist Frank Rosolino and Bob Enevoldsen, Bob Cooper on tenor and pianist Jimmy Rowles) easily fit into the setting. Marty Paich contributed the arrangements, there are plenty of drum solos and the music, if not all that memorable, can easily be enjoyed by straightahead jazz fans. (by Scott Yanow)

The mutual admiration society between Count Basie and Buddy Rich is well documented. Buddy sat in with Basie’s band in the 40’s but tore up the blank check the Count gave him for his services. Basie responded with an inscribed gold watch which I understand he wore all of his life (Source: Traps the Drum Wonder by Mel Torme). Anyway, I guess this was Rich’s way of paying tribute to the Count. Recorded in 1956 in LA, this set of Basie standards is well conceived and executed. The all-star line-up of west coast studio jocks backing Buddy includes Frank Rosolino, Conrad Gozzo, Bob Cooper, Jimmy Rowles, a few others and of course the immortal Harry “Sweets” Edison who was also a Rich favorite. This session swings fairly well and benefits from the contributions of ace arranger Marty Paich. The only drawback – and it’s minor – is that as a studio band these guys are a little too tight. Ordinarily this wouldn’t matter but when you’re doin’ Basie, you gotta be loose! Still highly recommended. (by William Faust)

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Personnel:
Buddy Collette (saxophone, flute)
Bob Cooper (saxophone)
Pete Condoli (trumpet)
Harry Edison (trumpet)
Bob Enevoldsen (trombone, saxophone)
Conrad Gozzo (trumpet)
Joe Mondragon (bass)
Bill Pitman (guitar)
Buddy Rich (drums)
Frank Rosolino (trombone)
Jimmy Rowles (piano)

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Tracklist:
01. Blue And Sentimental (Basie/Livingston/David) 4.46
02. Down For Double (Green) 4.05
03. Jump For Me (Basie) 5.41
04. Blues For Basie (Edison) 7.16
05. Jumpin’ At The Woodside (Basie) 6.23
06. Ain’t It The Truth? (Harding/Basie) 2.58
07. Shorty George (Basie) 5.10
08. 9:20 Special (Warren) 4.34

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Various Artists – Beatles vs. Stones – British Pop Hits Go Groovy (2010)

FrontCover1Part of Verve’s Jazz Club series, Beatles vs. Stones collects 18 songs (nine apiece) from the two British Invasion icons, all of which arrive in the form of covers performed by the likes of Count Basie (“Michelle”), Shake Keane with the Ivor Raymonde Orchestra (“As Tears Go By”), Oscar Peterson (“Yesterday”), and Caetano Veloso (“Let It Bleed”).

Appropriately budget-priced, the concept is pure novelty, but hearing the jazz elite interpret some of the most famous rock & roll songs in history is almost worth the small change. (by James Christopher Monger)

Booklet12010 collection of cover versions of Beatles and Stones classics performed by the Jazz elite. The JAZZ CLUB series is an attractive addition to the Verve catalogue. With its modern design and popular choice of repertoire, the JAZZ CLUB is not only opened for Jazz fans, but for everyone that loves good music. This collection includes tracks performed by Count Basie, Wes Montgomery, Oscar Peterson, Sergio Mendes and many others. (by cduniverse.com)

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Tracklist:

Beatles:
01. Count Basie: Michelle (1966) 2.46
02. Wes Montgomery: Eleanor Rigby (1967) 3.07
03. Wills Jackson: A Hard Days Night (1965) 5.37
04. Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66: With A Little Help From My Friends (1970) 2.33
05. Monty Alexander: Let It Be (1970) 3.42
06. Oscar Peterson: Yesterday (1970) 4.04
07. Gerry Mulligan: Can t Buy Me Love (1965) 3.38
08. Ella Fitzgerald: Hey Jude (1969) 3.52
09. George Benson: Because/Come Together (1969) 7.26

All songs written by John Lennon + Paul McCartney

Stones:
10. The Andrew Oldham Orchestra: Blue Turns To Grey (1966) 2.55
11. Kai Winding: Time Is On My Side (1963) 3.12
12. Shake Keane w. The Ivor Raymonde Orchestra: As Tears Go By (1968) 3.09
13. Ted Heath & His Music: Honky Tonk Women (1969) 3.23
14. Rotary Connection feat. Minnie Ripperton: The Salt Of The Earth (1969) 4.59
15. Barbara Dennerlein: Satisfaction (1999) 5.21
16. Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra: Jumpin Jack Flash (1968) 2.32
17. Cal Tjader: Gimme Shelter (1995) 2.55
18. Caetano Veloso: Let It Bleed (1968) 3.22

All songs written by Mick Hagger + Keith Richards

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Count Basie – Basie’s Beatles Bag (1966)

FrontCover1The Count and his orchestra tackle the music of the Fab Four, without any hint of condescension or lassitude. Indeed, the 11 songs by John Lennon and Paul McCartney and one (“Kansas City”) by Leiber & Stoller are treated with the same kind of dignity and enthusiasm that the band would give to the likes of Johnny Mercer or Harold Arlen. “Kansas City” is the bluesiest number here, and the one with which the band is obviously the most comfortable — it’s the only number here that could have appeared, as is, on any Basie album of the previous decade. But “Michelle” is the best track here, a gently swinging rendition in which Basie’s piano is featured in some pleasing flourishes and the band slips into a satisfying groove. The rest also comes off well — the ballads fare the best, showing off the quieter side of the band, stretching out and luxuriating on pieces like “Do You Want to Know a Secret.” Basie and company also rise to the occasion on rockers like “I Wanna Be Your Man” and “Can’t Buy Me Love,” taking big bites out of the beat and the principal melodies with some hot ensemble playing and solos. In the end, the songs and the band are both well served by Chico O’Farrill’s arrangements, which manage to maintain the familiar and emphasize some surprises. Even “Yesterday,” the most over-recorded of the Beatles’ songs, comes off fresh, with a moving jazz vocal treatment from Bill Henderson supported by Basie’s engaging organ fills and a quietly soaring trombone and sax section. The band romps, and the soloists, in addition to Basie, include Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and Al Grey. (by Bruce Eder)

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Personnel:
Al Aarons (trumpet)
Count Basie (keyboards, trombone)
Henderson Chambers (trombone)
Sonny Cohn (trumpet)
Wallace Davenport (trumpet)
Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis (saxophone)
Eric Dixon (flute, saxophone)
Charlie Fowlkes (flute, saxophone)
Freddie Green (guitar)
Al Grey (trombone)
Philip Guilbeau (trumpet)
Bill Henderson (vocals)
Bill Hughes (trombone)
Norman Keenan (bass)
Grover Mitchell (trombone)
Sonny Payne (drums)
Bobby Plater (flute, saxophone)

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Tracklist:
01. Help (Lennon/McCartney) 2.19
02. Can’t Buy Me Love (Lennon/McCartney) 3.25
03. Michelle (Lennon/McCartney) 2.46
04. I Wanna Be Your Man (Lennon/McCartney) 3.23
05. Do You Want To Know A Secret? (Lennon/McCartney) 3.02
06. A Hard Days Night (Lennon/McCartney) 4.26
07. All My Loving (Lennon/McCartney) 3.02
08. Yesterday (Lennon/McCartney) 3.08
09. And I Love Her (Lennon/McCartney) 2.53
10. Hold Me Tight (Lennon/McCartney) 2.47
11. She Loves You (Lennon/McCartney) 2.57
12. Kansas City (Leiber/Stoller) 4.00

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Various Artists – I Got Rhythm, Vol. 1 (Swing Classics) (1999)

FrontCover1Swing music, or simply Swing, is a form of American music that developed in the early 1930s and became a distinctive style by 1940. Swing uses a strong rhythm section of double bass and drums as the anchor for a lead section of brass instruments such as trumpets and trombones, woodwinds including saxophones and clarinets, and sometimes stringed instruments such as violin and guitar, medium to fast tempos, and a “lilting” swing time rhythm. The name swing came from the phrase ‘swing feel’ where the emphasis is on the off–beat or weaker pulse in the music (unlike classical music). Swing bands usually featured soloists who would improvise on the melody over the arrangement.

The danceable swing style of big bands and bandleaders such as Benny Goodman was the dominant form of American popular music from 1935 to 1946, a period known as the Swing Era.

The verb “to swing” is also used as a term of praise for playing that has a strong rhythmic “groove” or drive. (by wikipedia)

This is Volume 1 of a real fine introduction to this music … one the most important roots of Jazz !

BookletBackCover1Tracklist:
01. Duke Ellington: It Don´t Mean A Thing (Ellington/Mills) 3.08
02. Benny Goodman: Stompin´ At The Savoy (Sampson/Goodman/Parrish) 3.14
03. Glenn Miller: Don´t Sit Under The Apple Tree (Brown/Tobias/Stept) 3.09
04. Lionel Hampton: Muskrat Ramble (Ory/Gilbert) 3.13
05. Cab Calloway: Aw You Dawg (Hoover/Calloway) 2.46
06. Count Basie: Jumpin At The Woodside (Basie) 3.02
07. Bob Crosby: South Rampart Street Patade (Haggart/Baudic/Crosby) 3.30
08. Tommy Dorsey: Song Of India (Korsakoff) 3.05
09. Benny Goodman: King Porter Stomp (Morton) 3.07
10. Cab Calloway: The Scat Song (Parish/Perkins/Calloway) 3.05
11. Teddy Wilson: Don´t Be That Way (Goodman/Sampson/Parish) 3.02
12. Artie Shaw: Lady Be Good (I.Gerschwin/G.Gershwin) 3.01
13. The Andrew Sisters: Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (Ray/Prince) 2.39
14. Jimmy Dorsey: Tangerine (Mercer/Schertzinger) 3.09

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