Personnel: Count Basie (leader); Johnny Griffin, Jimmy Forrest, Eric Dixon, Danny Turner, Bobby Plater, Charlie Fowlkes (saxophone); Roy Eldridge, Sonny Cohn, Pete Minger, Bobby Mitchell, John Thomas, Jack Feierman (trumpet); Al Grey, Curtis Fuller, Bill Hughes, Mel Wanzo (trombone); Freddie Green (guitar); John Duke, Neils Henning Orsted Pedersen (bass); Milt Jackson (vibraphone); Butch Miles, Louie Bellson (drums).
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
Personnel: Count Basie (piano); Freddie Green (guitar); Danny Turner , Eric Dixon , Jimmy Forrest, Bobby Plater, Charlie Fowlkes (saxophone); Johnny Griffin (tenor saxophone); Jack Feierman, John Thomas , Pete Minger, Roy Eldridge, Sonny Cohn, Bobby Mitchell (trumpet); Mel Wanzo, Curtis Fuller, Al Grey, Bill Hughes (trombone); Milt Jackson (vibraphone); Louie Bellson, Butch Miles (drums).
Recording information: 1957-1962.
Photographer: Phil Stern.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Curtis Fuller; Jimmy Forrest; Louie Bellson; Milt Jackson; Roy Eldridge; Bobby Mitchell.
Derived from sessions recorded in the early '80s, THE BEST OF COUNT BASIE presents the leader in his usual, 17-piece big-band setting. Staying true to the concept of swing he developed in the late '30s and early '40s, Basie performs seven rousing numbers that highlight the talents of Roy Eldridge (trumpet), Al Grey (trombone), and Milt Jackson (vibes), among others. Basie himself maintains his compact, stride-like piano style.
Soloing has never been Basie's prime objective. When he does step forward, though, he artfully paces his lines with silence and sparse rhythms. We hear this best on "Tree Frog," where the pianist engages in call-and-response between himself and the trumpets, trombones, and saxophones. A live rendition of "Billie's Bounce" is of particular interest. Basie was never a fan of bebop, and his version of this Charlie Parker classic brings out the "down home" quality of the late saxophonist's tune. Structured around a twelve-bar blues form, this bebop anthem serves as a vehicle for the distinctly bluesy musings of tenor player Johnny Griffin and trumpeter Roy Eldridge. Throughout, BEST finds the Count Basie Big Band swinging with the authority that only musicians of this exceptional caliber can command.