Saturday, August 08, 2015
Longtime StLJN readers know that it doesn't take much prompting to get yr. humble editor to start posting Count Basie videos, and this week, we're using Jazz St. Louis' upcoming "Basie's Birthday Bash" as an excuse for getting down with the Count.
Scheduled for Friday, August 21 and Saturday, August 22 at Jazz at the Bistro, the event will commemorate the 111th anniversary of Basie's birth in Red Bank, NJ with the Jazz St. Louis Big Band performing his music.
As suggested above, this isn't the first time that Basie has been featured in this space. While the 2010 post on Basie, featuring a show recorded in 1965 for the BBC, unfortunately has been gutted by linkrot, last year's "Basics of Basie", posted prior to the Basie "ghost" band's appearance at the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival, is still intact as of this writing. And since that post featured a half-dozen of Basie's most recognizable songs, today we'll concentrate mostly on some longer performances.
The first video up above captures a full set of the Basie band in 1962, performing what would have been a fairly standard collection of material for them at the time. The lineup still featured many of the players from the famed "New Testament" edition of the group that began in the 1950s, including saxophonists Marshal Royal, Frank Wess, Eric Dixon, Frank Foster, and Charlie Fowkes; trumpeters Al Aarons, Sonny Cohn, Thad Jones, and Snooky Young; trombonists Henry Coker, Quentin "Butter" Jackson, and Benny Powell, plus the rhythm section of guitarist Freddie Green, bassist Eddie Jones, and drummer Sonny Payne and the singer, Irene Reid.
After the jump, you can see Basie in 1968 on the TV program Jazz Casual, performing in a quartet with Green, Payne and bassist Norman Keenan.
That's followed by a complete set recorded in 1975 in Stockholm, at which point the band's featured soloists included trombonist Al Grey s and the one-two tenor saxophone punch of Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis and St. Louis native Jimmy Forrest.
Up next is another complete show, from 1981 in Paris, and then, a repost in one video of the entire 1965 performance for the BBC that was referenced above, recorded for the rather prosaically named Show of the Week.
Last but not least is a little gem from a 1959 TV appearance in which the Basie band backed up Lambert, Hendricks and Ross on their vocalese version of "Avenue C," which the trio had recorded on their 1957 album Sing A Song of Basie. While most of the band lays out during the portion of the song in which the singers recreate the sectional parts, the whole thing is worth hearing just for Basie's piano fills.