Count Basie

Only the Best of Count Basie and His Orchestra

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The Collectables imprint's "Only the Best" series basically assembles several compilations together in a multi-disc package; compilations they've previously issued. In other words, the unassuming consumer takes a look at the back of one of these boxes -- in this case Only the Best of Count Basie -- and from appearances it would seem that these were indeed eight actual catalog recordings by the artist split over five CDs, when in fact, it is eight different compilations assembled by the Collectables label -- even if they originally licensed them from other labels. It is a bit dubious if not fundamentally dishonest, but ultimately what any compilation gets graded on is the quality of the music. There's a ton of good stuff here, from the well known to the obscure, and serious Basie fans -- many of whom will no doubt have most if not all of this stuff (after all, who but a serious fan would consider a box set in the first place?) -- will no doubt find much to like here. The music here comes from the late '30s through the '60s, and some of the original album titles in this box are Moonglow, (which originally appeared on the Everest label), Blues by Basie, One O'Clock Jump, Dance Parade, First Time! The Count Meets the Duke, Count Basie Classics, Ain't It the Truth, and Basie's Boogie. There is also a second disc in the set called Blues by Basie that is a separate compilation recording, just to make things more confusing. The best things to be said about this box -- besides the quality of the music, which is consistently high -- are the price and the sound, which is better than acceptable (though certainly not of audiophile quality).

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:59
2 2:23
3 3:09
4 3:01
5
3:21
6 3:19
7
3:19
8 3:30
9 3:14
10 3:14
11 3:10
12 3:10
13 3:07
14 3:21
15 3:11
16 2:26
17 3:12
18 2:32
19 2:18
20 2:51

Track Listing - Disc 6

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:53
2 2:53
3 3:29
4 2:48
5 3:23
6 2:22
7 3:03
8 2:29
9 2:47
10 3:07
11 3:03
12 3:06
13 3:21
14 3:01
15 3:20
16 3:12
17 3:14
18 2:30
19 3:12
20 3:02
21 2:33
22 2:55
23 3:17
24 2:58
blue highlight denotes track pick