Wednesday, 16 June 2010


Always been a bit of a sucker for Big Bands. Strangely, I don't like Glenn Miller but almost any other big band just lightens up my day.
Among the best of the "old" school are Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Stan Kenton and Artie Shaw.
The contemporary bands? Well, no one can beat Carla Bley (IMHO), but other notables are Colin Towns, Stan Tracey's occasional forays into that territory and not forgetting Scotland's very own SNJO.
So, I was pleased on Monday to find a Count Basie orchestra CD in one of Leith's many charity shops. "On The Sunny Side Of The Street" a CD that appears to be cobbled together from two different recording sessions. One in late 1969 and another in early 1970. 18 Standards, all nicely arranged and all well played. But that's about it to be honest...the band just walk through the arrangements to be honest and no musician seems to be given any solo's of any length at all. It's got a bit of a Friday afternoon - "OK lets get this done and get out of here" feel about it.
It has however, given me a taste to hear a bit more Basie. Not listened to any for a while.
Time perhaps to pick out a couple of real classics. "The Atomic Mr Basie" with the band storming their way through a load of fully charged energised arrangements by Neal Hefti or "April In Paris" from the mid 50's when the band didn't simply "swing", they took "swing", shook it up, redefined it and dared anyone to match them. This album alone is worth it for the title track and Basie's call to the band "... one more time" at the end... only for them to play it even harder and make him demand "let's hear that one more once".

Feel a lot of music about to be loaded onto my new toy and this weekend being declared "Big Band Weekend" in my house!!

No comments: