Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Complete Decca 1937-39
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Pop
Ellington's band had more grace and sophistication, but no big band swung harder than the incomparable Basie band. Recorded between 1937 and 1939, these 63 classics feature a cornucopia of legendary musicians: Herschel Eva... more »
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Ellington's band had more grace and sophistication, but no big band swung harder than the incomparable Basie band. Recorded between 1937 and 1939, these 63 classics feature a cornucopia of legendary musicians: Herschel Evans' big-toned, earthy tenor balances Lester Young's ethereal tenor. Harry "Sweets" Edison's soaring blares complement Buck Clayton's muted trumpet. Jimmy Rushing's nasal, booming operatics contrast with Helen Humes's precise elegance. The Freddie Green-Walter Page-Jo Jones rhythm section flawlessly anchors the driving 4/4 rhythm. And, of course, there's the leader's minimalist piano, using just the right, essential mix of boogie-woogie and stride. These three CDs are peppered with what would become jazz standards and should be a cornerstone of any music library. --Marc Greilsamer
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For all who have ears
Tony Thomas | SUNNY ISLES BEACH, FL USA | 02/04/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you have ears and do not have this set, something is wrong! Basie's band is here fresh from Kansas City. Its approach is simple. The greatest rhythm section in the history of Jazz, Basie, Walter Page, Joe Jones, and (first Claude Williams followed by the classic) Freddie Green set the tempo, lightly to hardly swinging, the sections come in, and then the great soloists of this orchestra Buck Clayton, Herschel Evans, and the great Genius Lester Young come in to make some of the greatest performances in Jazz history. The tunes, particularly on the first CD are triumphs of the blues based "head arrangements" that were the stock in trade of Kansas City Jazz. We aksi gave the magnificent singing and swinging of the incomparable Jimmy Rushing and later the singing of Helen Humes.During the first year or so of the Decca contract Billie Holiday was Basie's female singer. However, because she was already signed with Columbia-Brunswick she never recorded with the band. What a tragedy that we only have three air checks from radio of Billie with this band, none on this CD. It should be noted that on the last set of recordings here after Herschel Evans died, the great Tenor man Chu Berry joined the band to later be replaced by Buddy Tate. The competition between Evans and Young was the stuff of legends, but the blowing battles that triumph between Berry and Young on Cherokee and Lady Be Good on the last CD here is as good as it gets in 1930s Jazz.
How can you choose between the tracks or selections with the smaller collections of Decca Basie do you select One o'clock Jump over Jumpin' at the Woodside, Texas Shuffle over Good Morning Blues, no you can't. There are a lot of gems here that aren't as widely known and do nto appear in smaller compilations. The most import are the many sides with only Basie's piano supported by the rest of the rhythm section. If you are serious about playing, jazz, blues, or swing or just music, particularly if you play a rhythm instrument, program these sides on your CD and try to play along. Just listening without playing is a real education in blues and swing. The rhetoric is of course that later the band got to be more and more of an arranged band and less swinging than this. I don't agree with that at all. However, there is a gritty bluesy magic here that does tend to float away after they left Decca. Of course, the sad history of these recordings is that Decca signed Basie to the three years of these recordings for 700 bucks before Basie got to New York and realized what the orchestra could mean. It took the union and lawyers John Hammond found to get Decca to pay the band members union scale for these classic sides. It's also evident if you compare the last of these Decca sides to the first Columbia sides that Decca wasn't as concerned with the recording quality of these records as Columbia. But that's life under capitalism, great art getting ripped off by big money.There is simply no excuse for anyone with ears not to have this collection. The sides aren't just great art or necessary history, they are fun, they are moving, and they are going to put a song in your heart and a smile on your face!"
Lively, humorous and energetic!
Julia Hernandez | Chicago, Illinois United States | 11/17/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I recently suffered a loss of nearly 1/2 of my cd collection, and when I realized that this set wasn't stolen, I literally cried tears of joy!I love jazz and swing and the blues and Basie et. al. know what they're doing, and go at it with zest and a sense of fun. Track 7 on Disc 2, "Mama don't want no peas 'n' rice 'n' cocnut oil", never fails to make me smile and often laugh. It's a great story, concept and song. If only for this track, the collection would be worthwhile.The trick of it is, I'd easily give you a list of 50% of the songs that right off, you're likely to love and find essential to your quality of life. But then again, the other 50% give life balance. The clarity of the recordings is a pleasure not just because of the absence of pops, clicks or hiss (some tracks have a wee bit, but compared to other period re-releases, this is about as good as it gets), but the recordings have a sense of a "clean, open" headspace, no bounce or reverb or other additions. It's very much as if you're listening to them in a studio or small, empty club. Just you and them and the music. Maybe a pack of smokes and a drink and your best guy/gal.Close your eyes and smile!"
Man, this is happy music!
Candace Scott | Lake Arrowhead, CA, USA | 07/20/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These three CD's comprise the absolute best of Basie's Old Testament Band and I can't imagine a single soul in the universe not loving this sound and this swing. Some of my other Basie albums on vinyl and CD suffer from inferior sound quality. Not here, this is the crispest and cleanest I have ever heard on the old recordings from the 30's. Every note is clear, sweet and true. Usually Basie sounds better live, but these studio versions are a close second-best and some of them are probably definitive. One O'Clock Jump is awesome and Boo Hoo blows away the white-bread, tepid Dorsey version. Jumpin' at the Woodside has a ragged, jagged edge to it. Listen to how Basie thumps out the opening bars with one finger and he gets more "oomph" out of those few notes than most musicians can produce in a lifetime of trying.Basie's minimalist piano style has never been better showcased than on this set. I've listened to each disc many times and it just doesn't get any better than this. The quality of Basie's sidemen is the standard by which other bands should be judged. If you think Harry James and Krupa lifted up the Goodman band, then sink your teeth into some raw, powerful musicians in the Basie line up. It doesn't get any better than this, guaranteed!"