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Atomic Basie

Count Basie Orchestra

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Album Review

The release of this album in late 1957 marked the beginning of a glorious new phase in Count Basie's career. Signed to Roulette Records, the newly formed label owned by Morris Levy, the New York recording entrepreneur, jukebox mogul, club owner, and quasi-underworld figure, it took Basie's core audience and a lot of other people by surprise, as a bold, forward-looking statement within the context of a big-band recording — if not as daring as what Duke Ellington had done at Newport in 1956, still a reminder that there was room for fresh, even dazzling improvisation (especially courtesy of Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis's contribution) within the framework of a big-band jazz unit. The band and its key members were all "on" for these two days of sessions, and Neal Hefti's arrangements gave all concerned a chance to show what they could do. Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, stands out from the get-go with his solo on "Flight of the Foo Birds," a rewriting of "Give Me the Simple Life" on which the tenor-man shares the stage with Thad Jones's trumpet solo, but nearly knock Jones off that same stage with his pyrotechnics. Davis plunges into new territory, defining the Basie "Atomic" period with his solo on "Whirly-Birds" (originally less aptly titled "Roller Coaster"), which soars into the air on his break. Joe Newman and Thad Jones's muted trumpets are the featured instruments on "Duet." "The Kid From Red Bank" offers an unusual showcase for Basie himself at the piano, playing the least number of notes possible to surprise and bedazzle the listener, while "Li'l Darlin'" offers the Basie band's answer to Ellington's "Mood Indigo." (See also: The Complete Atomic Basie — 1994).

Customer Reviews

Utter CHAOS…Basie's legacy doesn't deserve this exploitation

Those who go on how great it will be when classic music enters the public domain, witness this aberration. As EMI was in the process of being sold and thus has been the least aggressive in securing overseas rights to their own valuable catalog - they even let "Love Me Do" fall out of copyright before pressing the panic button - iTunes and the various libraries of iTunes Match now feature albums such as these which are MASTERED FROM VINYL LPs. How is this providing listeners with a superior product? You can tell on the first track that something is awry when "Jumpin At The Woodside" does indeed jump from one point in the intro and back as if the LP they used has a skip and they made an attempt to re-edit the intro to reconstruct one of the most famous riffs in Jazz and pop…and failed. The rest of the cuts are not in the same order as the original Atomic Basie album, some cuts are culled from a live album out around the same time, and the cover is a bad approximation of the original. When anyone can now take the work of an artist from an inferior source and slap it on iTunes to make a fast buck, this is a disservice to consumers and creators alike.

misleading label

This is not the classic "Atomic Basie" album at all. It has a couple of cuts from that album, but in general its tracks are taken from other albums.

Atomic Basie, Count Basie Orchestra
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Customer Ratings

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