Count Basie: The Orchestra and the Octet

Count Basie

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Count Basie: The Orchestra and the Octet Review

by Scott Yanow

This French CBS two-LP set has 13 recordings by the 1946 edition of Count Basie's orchestra (including several features for the exciting tenor of Illinois Jacquet), 12 performances by Basie's octet in 1950 (which starred trumpeter Clark Terry, clarinetist Buddy DeFranco and tenor great Wardell Gray among others) and Basie's first session with his new big band in 1951 (Wardell Gray's showcase "Little Pony" is considered a classic). The music throughout this two-fer is consistently memorable and the octet performances are so swinging that it makes one regret that he could not keep it going along with his new orchestra.