Count Basie

Count on the Coast, Vol. 1

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It was nearly impossible to catch the Count Basie Orchestra in anything other than top form and this is the case with this CD recorded during a West Coast tour in the summer of 1958. Since the engineer remains deliberately anonymous, it is likely the band may not have been aware it was being recorded, but the stereo sound is excellent, though Basie's piano is hard to pick up at times. The play list is a nice mix of songs long associated with the band ("Moten Swing" and "Swingin' the Blues"), newer contributions by Neal Hefti ("Flight of the Foo Birds," the very popular "Cute," and "Li'l Darling") as well as some obscurities ("Blue on Blue" and "Slats"). Most of the tracks run under five minutes and there's plenty of solo space spread around between the band's members, plus two features for singer Joe Williams ("No Moon at All" and his hit "Well, Allright, Okay, You Win"). Although the location is not stated, the music comes from two or more sets at the Crescendo Club in Los Angeles. Fans of Count Basie will want to look for this Swedish release on the Phontastic label, as well as the companion second volume.

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