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The Complete Decca Recordings (1937-1939) [Box Set]

Count Basie

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Album Review

This magnificent three-disc set has the first 63 recordings by Count Basie's Orchestra, all of his Deccas. The consistency is remarkable (with not more than two or three turkeys) and the music is the epitome of swing. With such soloists as Lester Young and Herschel Evans on tenors, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry "Sweets" Edison, the great blues singer Jimmy Rushing, and that brilliant rhythm section of Basie, guitarist Freddie Green, bassist Walter Page, and drummer Jo Jones, the music is timeless. It's all here: "One O'Clock Jump," "Sent for You Yesterday," "Blue and Sentimental," "Jumpin' at the Woodside," "Jive at Five," and many others. This is the first Count Basie collection to acquire and should be in every jazz collection.

Customer Reviews

The Best Set from the Classic Basie Orchestra

Of course this set is essential, and includes the entire William Count Basie recorded output for 1937-39, with Decca. Lester Young is on every one of these recordings and that should be reason enough to have them. They swing like mad, and Jimmy Rushing is the best singer Basie ever had, as they were together off and on for over 20 years. Freddie Green and Jo Jones are brilliant here, as is the Count's essentially understated playing. Count Basie doesn't get the same attention as Ellington, perhaps because he didn't write as much, but these recordings are as good as Ellington's band ever recorded, maybe even a little better. The swing revival of the late 90s should have revived these songs, but alas you will have to hear them yourself to hear some of swingingest music ever made. Amazing.

A "must have"...

This collection was recommended by the book "1000 recordings you should hear before you die." The author was not wrong. The musicianship is superb, and the recording quality is as good as it gets. If you are going to own one Basie CD, this is it.


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...
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