Swing Shift

Count Basie Orchestra / Grover Mitchell

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Swing Shift Review

by Richard S. Ginell

Rolling on into the neo-swing era, the Basie band under the leadership of Grover Mitchell continues to display a spirit most unlike that of your average ghost band. More encouragingly to the point, the band is playing mostly new pieces here, seven from the pen of Allyn Ferguson and four from longtime Basie band trumpeter Bob Ojeda. Some are really nice entries, like Ferguson's "Easy Go" and "Blues For Royalty" (the latter is quintessential Basie blues), some take the band a bit outside the Count's sound (which is also good), none are less than accomplished (although the deadweight drum solo of "Drum Thing" makes that one an exception). Only three older standards populate the disc - Billy Eckstine's "Lonesome Lover Blues," Ray Noble's "The Very Thought Of You," and a seeming leftover from Count Plays Duke, Billy Strayhorn's "Blood Count." Yet despite the solid, sturdy ensemble sound and agile soloing, one still has to admit that this edition of the band cannot quite get itself to roar and erupt with the same force as even earlier post-Basie editions could.

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