The Count is going strong again
Roel Abels | Groningen, Netherlands | 09/17/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This Pablo recording from 1975 represents a new revitilised Basie
band. After some years of having almost not recorded at all, due to problems with stable personnel, William Basie at this time has found a new drummer, Butch Miles and a new arranger, Bill Holman, who was asked to write charts especially for this project. Because of this, these recordings are a pleasant breakaway from a long tradition of using the Sammy Nestico charts over and over again. And what a talent this Basie band has in its ranks: Sonny Cohn and the sparkling Bobby Mitchell provide the trumpet solos, in the trombone department you`ll
hear the one and only plunger specialist Al Grey, supported by
Curtis Fuller and Bill Hughes. Of course the star soloist of the band is still there playing with the reeds: Jimmy Forrest, with his fat, gutty attack on the tenorsax.
Besides the brilliant new scores on this album, Holman arranged two famous standards for Basie, `Something To Live For` and
`Too Close For Comfort`. In listening to them, you get almost the feeling that Basie`s third Atomic period had started. Definitely a Basie for your collection at home."
Robert J. Ament | Ballwin, MO United States | 02/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was surprised to find an album by Basie where the arrangements were by Bill Holman and 8 of 10 selections were written by Holman. This was recorded in 1976 and I've owned my copy only within the last 8 years.
When one thinks of the Basie band, you automatically think of the foremost arrangers Ernie Wilkins, Neal Hefti and Sammy Nestico......three superb arrangers and composers in their own right! There are exceptions, fine compositions by his own sidemen (re. my review of "Chairman Of The Board"). Bill Holman is in a different plane with many credits, his own band and his work with Stan Kenton being most familiar to me. What really knocked me out, was his complex arrangements being completely written in the Basie style. There is not one selection here that can be played without identifying it immediately with the Count Basie style. A possible exception might be the closer, "The Git", a real burner which starts off with the drumming of Butch Miles and found me thinking of Buddy Rich, at least before the Count's solo kicked in.
There's a nice mixture of tempos on this set , including some fine blues as you would expect with the Basie band. My favorites are the slower tempo ones: "Flirt", "Something To Live For" (Duke and Billy would have appreciated this arrangement), and "Swee'pea" , the affectionate nickname and a fine tribute to Billy Strayhorn.
I was gratified to write a review of something with a sales rating of under 100,000 but also surprised that there was only one review. Usually my reviews seem to rank consderably lower in popularity. That said, this is a fine Basie album which should appeal to his fans,followers of Bill Holman, or any fan of big band jazz.