Although this reissue was released under the name the Count Basie Bunch, only a few of the selections actually employ Count Basie. Rather, Cool Too is a collection of excellent 1954-58 small-group recordings that are led by such Basie sidemen as trumpeters Buck Clayton & Joe Newman and drummer Jo Jones (not to be confused with Philly Joe Jones, another famous jazz drummer). John Hammond, who produced the recordings for Vanguard, had a strong passion for Basie-type swing -- so it isn't surprising that he successfully brought together so many Basie associates in the 1950s. Some of the high points of this CD range from Frank Wess' soulful tenor sax on "The Sleeper" and Vic Dickenson's expressive trombone on "Good Morning Blues" to Clayton's robust trumpet on "Blues Blasé" and "Ballin' the Jack." Vocalist Joe Williams, who was Jimmy Rushing's most important successor in the Basie band, is in fine form on live performances of "More than One for My Baby" and "I Want a Little Girl," both of which were recorded live in New York in 1956 and come from the album A Night at Count Basie's. For swing fans, Cool Too is highly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson