VOLUME 2 picks up with a series of recordings organized at Kansas City's Lincoln Hall over a five-day period at the end of October 1930. This was a period in the legendary bandleader's career before he started his own inimitable orchestra. Still a sideman, Basie is heard here accompanying many legends in their own right, such as Ben Webster and Jimmy Rushing. The band itself is led by the underrated Bennie Moten, who died only five years after these sessions.
Songs such as "Prince of Wails" and the old war-horse, "Somebody Stole My Gal" sound particularly inspired here. On the former, we hear Basie playing stride piano, a la Fats Waller, a far cry from the more economical style that later became his trademark. It's quite fascinating to hear Basie tickle the ivories with such intensity and vigor. An excellent recording in terms of fidelity, VOLUME 2 1930-1932 is a rare look at The Count's earliest years.