Count Basie

Sixteen Men Swinging

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The second Count Basie Orchestra stabilized its sound and its personnel on the two solid sessions from 1953-54 featured on this two-LP set. With Joe Newman and Thad Jones in the trumpet section, and the two tenors of Frank Foster and Frank Wess, the band had more than its share of talented soloists, but it was the clean ensemble sound, the lightly but firmly swinging rhythm section and the inventive and uncluttered arrangements of Ernie Wilkins and Neal Hefti that made this band a surprise success in 1954. This two-fer (which includes "Blues Backstage" and "Down for the Count") has 25 examples of '50s Basie swing.