Count Basie

The Complete Clef/Verve Count Basie Fifties Studio Recordings

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The eight CDs that make up this collection document the second rise of Count Basie's big band. The second band had been created at the urging of Billy Eckstine, who convinced Basie that even though the era of the large jazz-swing orchestra -- an era he was an architect of -- was by all appearances over, he could make a real go of it with his brand of blues and swing. Basie was initially skeptical, but agreed when he was offered other supporting opinions from the likes of Norman Granz and Willard Alexander. He set out to create an orchestra that was not as susceptible to personnel changes, and initially featured the charts of Neal Hefti and Nat Pierce, and later those of Frank Foster and Johnny Mandel, among others. The band began recording for Clef in 1952. They recorded for Verve during the same period, and issued a few sides for Mercury as well; all in the space of five years, until 1957. Paul Quinichette emerged as an outstanding soloist in this band, as did Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Marshall Royal, Frank Foster, and Thad Jones. It also marks the period when Joe Williams began his tenure as vocalist with the Count. The 146 recordings here, on The Complete Clef/Verve Count Basie Fifties Studio Recordings, include the A- and B-sides of 16 EPs, most of which were taken from three 10" LPs and 17 long-players, as well as from extended-version CDs. In addition to the complete issued recordings there are seven previously released alternate takes. Sound is reproduced to a very high standard -- especially given the source limitations of some of the masters. Furthermore, the extensive liner notes are typical of Mosaic's excellence, and were written by Chris Albertson. This one is limited to 10,000 copies.

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