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The Jubilee Alternatives

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Album Review

Like Hindsight's Count Basie and His Orchestra 1944, The Jubilee Alternatives covers the period from December 1943 until October 1944, when the Musicians' Union's ban meant that few major acts got to record. Some of the songs on this 71-minute CD overlap with Hindsight's 44 minutes, but a most are unused alternate takes or completely unused songs, drawn from the same sessions and featuring the likes of Lester Young and Illinois Jacquet, as well as Buddy Rich on drums. These were all recordings originally intended for broadcast by the Armed Forces Radio Service "Jubilee" shows; hence the name of this CD. Highlights include a swinging, bouncy version of Harry Edison's "Beaver Junction" that predates the official commercial version by seven years; a superb Jimmy Rushing showcase, "Harvard Blues"; two distinctly different takes (both very hot) of "Jumpin' at the Woodside"; a Thelma Carpenter-sung version of "More Than You Know"; a pair of brisk, hot classics, "Let's Jump" and "Avenue C"; and an early version of "Andy's Blues." The sound quality is perfect, right down to the crisp presence of Freddie Green's guitar, and the annotation is complete to the smallest detail. And that scandal, as with the Hindsight release that this disc adjoins, is that there's more early-1940s Basie material available here than there is from Columbia, his official label of the period — and like the Hindsight release, it's a necessity for any collection of Basie's music, or for anyone who loves early-'40s swing.

The Jubilee Alternatives, Count Basie and His Orchestra
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