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Album Review

Count Basie always seemed to kick things up a notch when he took his big band out on-stage, and this early morning set recorded at the 1977 Montreux Jazz Festival is no exception. This edition of the band was a good one, with the presence of Al Grey, Jimmy Forrest, Charles Fowlkes, and of course, the heartbeat of the band, Freddie Green. Basie was not one to coast by sticking to endless rehashing of the same old hits for decades; newer contributions include the furious opener "The Heat's On" and the jaunty "Freckle Face," both written by Sam Nestico; tenor saxophonist Jimmy Forrest is featured on his original ballad "Bag of Dreams." But Basie was also aware he needed to please the crowd by dipping into familiar material, so he showcases Al Grey in an easygoing take of "The More I See You" and trumpeter Waymon Reed in a driving performance of "A Night in Tunisia." The set wraps with a trio of tunes forever associated with Count Basie: the elegant "Li'l Darlin'" and rousing renditions of "Jumpin' at the Woodside" and the obligatory finale of "One O'Clock Jump." Producer Norman Granz mentions in his notes that Basie's piano is more prominent in the mix due to the engineer's unfamiliarity with the band's typical recorded sound, but as a result, all of the rhythm section, including the overlooked Freddie Green, can be more easily appreciated by novice jazz fans for the fuel they provide to the large ensemble.

Customer Reviews

Great Selection of Songs For Basie Afficianado

This is a great album I first listened to in jr. high as I was cutting my teeth on clarinet/sax and learning big band jazz. You don't hear some of these songs a lot. Also these live versions are outstanding. Jimmy Forrest's incredible balade "Bag of Dreams" is incredible. He plays the b'jesus out of it. One of my favorite all-time big-band solo pieces featuring a MONSTER tenor. Played with incredible mojo and feeling. Not to mention Al Green's work. His tone is huge on this, as are his phrasings. I've been trying to play licks off this solo for 25 years. "Things Ain't What They Used To Be" is a great version too. Overall a great album

Awesome Baise!

This was the first Basie CD that I got, and it was well worth the money! All the tracks are outstanding. The band plays tight, and is always together. The standout tracks are: The Heat's On, Splanky, A Night In Tunisia, Jumpin' At The Woodside and One O'Clock Jump. All of the songs are worth getting, so waste no time and buy this awesome album

one of their finest recordings

i agree, the most amazing thing about the basie big band is their tightness. the rhythm section is astounding as well. a must in jazz repertoire.

Montreux '77, Count Basie and His Big Band
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Customer Ratings