Count Basie

Basie in London

Fresh Sound Records

Joe Newman, Thad Jones (tp), Henry Coker, Benny Powell (tb), Marshall Royal (cl, as), Bill Graham (as), Frank Wess (fl, ts), Frank Foster (ts), Charlie Fowlkes (bs), Count Basie (p), Freddie Green (g), Eddie Jones (b), Sonny Payne (d), Joe Williams (vcl)

Reference: FSRCD 566

There is an unmatched, limitless vitality to this band led by Count Basie. It has ensemble drive, and its charts are vital jazz statements which demand the best of soloists. Joe Newman, Frank Wess, Frank Foster, and Benny Powells playing is inspired and meaningful, while Joe Williams singing is vibrantly effective. The rhythm section, with the great Freddie Green, Eddie Jones and Sonny Payne is the ultimate basic of the band, and, of course, the key man here is The Count himself. All musicians at the top of their games, the crowd is fanatically enthusiastic and the band returns their enthusiasm in full. Here is Basies band at its best!

Jordi Pujol


01. How High the Moon
02. Shiny Stockings
03. Plymouth Rock
04. Sixteen Men Swinging
05. Yesterdays
06. Flute Juice
07. Untitled
08. Blee Blop Blues
09. Nails
10. Corner Pocket
11. Blues Backstage
12. Well, Alright, OK, You Win
13. Roll em Pete
14. The Comeback
15. One Oclock Jump
16. Jumpin at the Woodside

Total time: 61:47 min.

Originally issued in LP as Verve MGV-8199.

Reunald Jones, Wendell Culley, Joe Newman, Thad Jones, trumpets; Henry Coker Benny Powell, Bill Hughes, trombones; Marshall Royal, clarinet & alto sax; Bill Graham, alto sax; Frank Wess, flute & tenor sax; Frank Foster, tenor sax; Charlie Fowlkes, baritone sax; Count Basie, piano; Freddie Green, guitar; Eddie Jones, bass and Sonny Payne, drums. Joe Williams, vocals on tracks #12-14.

Recorded live in a Gothenburg concert hall, Sweden, on September 7, 1956.


Additional notes:

"This concert was not recorded in London, England, but in Gothenburg, Sweden. We do not know why Norman Granz opted for the title Basie in Londoneven the original album liner notes make reference to it. And yet, the uniqueness and happy mood that the original cover exudes cannot be denied. For that reason alone we have decided to keep it as it has released for the first time. The music and the repertoire played during that European autumn tour is absolutely marvelous. All charts are of the highest quality, some of them immortal classics of the band, some others were forgotten and never played by the band again.

Track 7 was left as Untitled because nobody seems to remember the exact name, arranger, or composer of the tune. I asked both Franks, Foster and Wess, but even today this tune eluded them. It sounds like a Benny Carter arrangement... but it is not, noticed Foster. When I asked Wess he said he had no idea. After more than fifty years, its very difficult to remember a chart that we played a few times, and on that tour only. As far as we know, the band never recorded this tune in the studio.

For our CD reissue, mainly four things have changed from the original LP:

1) The sound has been remastered in 24 bits, and we are very proud about the results!

2) The addition of four more instrumental tracks (3, 4, 5 and 7).

3) To preserve the sequence of tunes as close as possible as it was originally played on the 1956 European tour, we have changed the order of the tunes to better represent the real concert. For example, the band always finished the shows by playing Jumping At The Woodside but never opened with it.

4) In the same token, and to keep the general feeling for the listener, the tunes do not fade out, as they did in the original release.

Ladies and Gentlemen, sit down please. Its time for you to live this wonderful, swingin concert of Count Basie and his men. Enjoy. Cheers!

"Beethoven" (Jean-Michel Reisser)


"First off, this album is inaccurately titled. Though the cover photo shows Count Basie with two lavishly dressed Brits, the recording was done in its entirety from a 1956 concert in Gothenburg, Sweden. Why it was titled thusly is anyone's guess. As far as the music, it represents the Basie band in a classic time period, playing many well-known, long-lasting, and beloved tunes that everybody will recognize. It's also a band loaded with legendary Basie sidemen like Freddie Green, Sonny Payne, Thad Jones, Frank Foster, Frank Wess, Joe Newman, Marshall Royal, Charlie Fowlkes, and on three tracks, Joe Williams. The warm, effusive, happy jazz of Count Basie is well recorded with distinction, presence, good stereo separation, and the restrained yet punchy sound Basie always presented with dignified class. Whether it's the trombones taking over on "Jumpin' at the Woodside," the low-key sonance of "Shiny Stockings," the roaring horns during "A Foggy Day," or the under two-minute, hard-charging "One O'Clock Jump," this music is all immediately identifiable and unmistakably Basie. Buster Harding's "Nails" is a blues jam with Green's strumming more audible amidst the echoes of the repeat traditional instrumental line of "my mama done told me" paraphrased from "Blues in the Night," while the Ernie Wilkins feature for Frank Foster, "Flute Juice," is a nimble excursion based on the changes of "I Got Rhythm." With Williams, the band backs the erudite deep-throated singer on a choogling "Alright, Okay, You Win," the quick "Roll 'Em Pete" (where the singer jives about his "gal way up on the hill"), and "The Comeback" (where Williams declares his return to his baby over a stairstep construct). "Corner Pocket" remains the ultimate signature head-nodding Basie tune, but "Blee Blop Blues" might be seen as a jab or tease at bop, when it is solidly in that genre. Four extra tracks are included on the CD version, including and up-and-down version of "Yesterdays," a cute, medium-tempo untitled jam with Basie's piano firmly stamped on it, the explosively crazy three-minute Wilkins ditty "Sixteen Men Swinging," and Neal Hefti's "Plymouth Rock," which is a more lyrical vehicle, easygoing and trumpet-infused (possibly Thad Jones, although he's unidentified as the soloist). This solid document of Count Basie's "hits" come highly recommended, despite the disingenuous marketing ploy of it being based somewhere else."

Michael G. Nastos -All Music Guide


$10.85  (tax incl.)

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