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The Essential Count Basie, Vol. 2

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Album Review

A fine sampler of the 1939-40 Count Basie orchestra, it features such classic performances as "Dickie's Dream," "Lester Leaps In" and "Tickle Toe." Lester Young and fellow tenor Buddy Tate, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry Edison, and trombonist Dickie Wells all have their chances to star; they can't help swinging with that light but solid Basie rhythm section. Count's Columbia recordings deserve to be reissued in full (with all of the alternate takes), but until CBS gets around to it, this is a good introduction to that period.


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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