Personnel: Count Basie (piano); Joe Williams (vocals); Marshall Royal (alto saxophone, clarinet); Bill Graham (alto saxophone); Frank Wess (tenor saxophone, flute); Frank Foster (tenor saxophone); Charlie Fowlkes (baritone saxophone); Wendell Culley, Reunald Jones, Thad Jones, Joe Newman (trumpet); Henry Coker, Bill Hughes, Benny Powell (trombone); Freddie Green (guitar); Eddie Jones (bass); Sonny Payne (drums).
Recorded in New York, New York on July 26 & 27, 1955 and June 27, 1956; in Chicago, Illinois on January 23, 1956. Includes liner notes by John Litweiler.
Personnel: Count Basie (piano); Joe Williams (vocals); Freddie Green (guitar); Frank Wess (flute, tenor saxophone); Marshall Royal (clarinet, alto saxophone); Bill Graham (alto saxophone); Frank Foster (tenor saxophone); Charlie Fowlkes (baritone saxophone); Reunald Jones, Joe Newman , Thad Jones, Wendell Culley (trumpet); Henry Coker, Benny Powell, Bill Hughes (trombone); Sonny Payne (drums).
Audio Remasterer: Phil Schaap.
Liner Note Author: John B. Litweiler.
Recording information: Chicago, IL (07/26/1955-06/27/1956); New York, NY (07/26/1955-06/27/1956).
Director: Giulio Turturro.
Editor: Peter Pullman.
Photographer: Herman Leonard.
Arrangers: Ernie Wilkins; Frank Foster.
Count Basie's 1950s band had saxophonists Frank Foster, Frank Wess and Marshal Royal, Thad Jones on trumpet and of course, two of the most understated musicians to ever drive a rhythm section: guitarist Freddie Green and Basie himself on piano. But the presence of Joe Williams put the whole situation over the top. The point, on this recording, is that Williams sings the blues, and does so with undeniable conviction, unparalleled clarity and irrepressible humor.
COUNT BASIE SWINGS, JOE WILLIAMS SINGS is essential listening if only for the fact that it contains the five-minute jukebox hit "Every Day I Have The Blues." Ernie Wilkins' continually unfolding arrangement is a thing of breathtaking elegance, underpinning one of the most astonishing vocal performances in all of jazz. The less-celebrated Foster arrangement "The Comeback" is just as exciting, for its skintight dynamic control and explosive solo section. While there are a few ballads, blues are the heart of the matter here, from the steady-rocking "Alright, Okay, You Win" to Williams' own purring, petulant "My Baby Upsets Me."