Count Basie's big band out of Kansas City epitomized the values of the late-'30s swing era, with an unmatched Synchromesh rhythm section, booting riffs from the horns and superior soloists like saxophonist Lester Young, trumpeter Buck Clayton and Basie himself, one of jazz's great minimalists (who could nonetheless also play some mean boogie-woogie and stride piano). Every modern swing band you love is striving to be them.
By Will Friedwald on 11.16.10 in Reviews
The cover of this 1964 release shows the First Lady and the Count calmly sipping a spot of tea, but the music contained therein is anything but placid; rather, this is one of the most ferociously swinging sets that Fitzg...
By Will Friedwald on 05.18.10 in Reviews
Sinatra waited until long after everyone else (Judy Garland, Ella Fitzgerald, and even the late Nat King Cole) had done a concert album before he stepped into the ring, but when he did, his live set immediately became th...
By Fred Kaplan on 10.14.09 in Reviews
This 1983 big-band studio session is one of Basie's last (he sat at the piano in a wheelchair) but it still has that familiar grace and swing. And while most of the stars in his band had died or gone, the 19-piece en...
By Kevin Whitehead on 10.14.09 in Reviews
The most self-effacing of jazz pianists shows off his Fats Waller roots, matchless ease with the blues, and unerring feel for the proper tempo, with Ray Brown and Louie Bellson watching his back.