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The Best of Early Basie

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Album Review

Best of Count Basie Live contains a good portion of the live material that the Count Basie Orchestra recorded for Decca Records between 1936 and 1939. At the time, Basie's Orchestra contained such legendary players as Lester Young, Harry "Sweets" Edison, and Buck Clayton. About a third of the live sides the Orchestra recorded for Decca is included on the disc, and although this compilation isn't complete, it offers a good introduction for novice listeners.


Born: August 21, 1904 in Red Bank, NJ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Count Basie was among the most important bandleaders of the swing era. With the exception of a brief period in the early '50s, he led a big band from 1935 until his death almost 50 years later, and the band continued to perform after he died. Basie's orchestra was characterized by a light, swinging rhythm section that he led from the piano, lively ensemble work, and generous soloing. Basie was not a composer like Duke Ellington or an important soloist like Benny Goodman. His instrument was his band,...
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