Volume eight in the complete early works of Count Basie released by the Masters of Jazz label in 1997 covers a timeline from July 23, 1938 to January 5, 1939 with selected Decca studio recordings and live air shots from the Famous Door, a nightclub then located at 66 West 52nd Street in New York City. Rather than adhering to a strict chronology, the producers stashed some of the Count's Decca titles from this period (the session of August 22, 1938 for example) on volume seven and packed the first part of volume eight with exciting live jams (including seven minutes of "Jumpin' at the Woodside") heavily featuring tenor saxophonist Lester Young (tracks one-six and track twelve). The Deccas include the intimate quartet session of November 9, 1938 with Basie leading his "All American Rhythm Section" of guitarist Freddie Green, bassist Walter Page, and drummer Jo Jones (tracks seven-eleven). The big band, recorded one week later and again during the first week of the following year, worked off of arrangements by Jimmy Mundy, Andy Gibson, and Buster Smith; vocalists were Jimmy Rushing and Helen Humes. This tasty slice of vintage Basie is especially valuable on account of the relatively uncommon portions that were recorded live at the Famous Door.
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AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf
feat: Count Basie Orchestra