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King of Swing

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Album Review

Following a brief lull earlier in the 1950s, Count Basie had rebuilt his big band by the time of this trio of studio sessions originally recorded for Clef. Among the musicians present on one or more of the dates are trumpeters Joe Newman, Joe Wilder, and Thad Jones and a reed section with Marshall Royal, Frank Foster, Frank Wess, and Ernie Wilkins, along with a dependable rhythm section anchored by Basie's longtime rhythm guitarist, Freddie Green. The Basie band explores ten originals, most of which were written by either Neal Hefti or Manny Albam. While none of the numbers seemed to stay in the band book for all that long, the consistently swinging performances and tasty solos make this reissue, which is available only until May 2005, worth the attention of swing fans.


Born: 21 August 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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