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Good Time Blues by Count Basie

Fans of the big Basie band are pleased. Pablo Records has seen fit to release a concert from Basie’s 15th European tour in 1970. Special arrangements were made to accommodate the inclusion of Harry "Sweets" Edison and his unique style. Edison had been a part of Basie’s earlier bands. Other perennials include Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Cecil Payne and the venerable Freddie Green.

Liner notes for the Budapest concert are perfectly prepared by Chris Sheridan who is the author of the exhaustive Count Basie: A Bio-Discography. It’s nice to see that all arrangers are credited on each tune. Collectors always appreciate knowing who did what. By the way, some of the arrangers are Nat Pierce, Neal Hefti, Quincy Jones, Sammy Nestico, Ernie Wilkins, Lockjaw Davis, Benny Carter and Frank Foster. That’s an all star lineup!

As with most Basie albums, there are no mistakes. This is wonderful time-tested material as only the Count’s band could play it. The band is bold, punchy, brassy and finely tuned. Solos are abundant and interesting. Grover Mitchell’s trombone solo on Benny Carter’s Sunset Glow is particularly beautiful. It’s a great tune that is seldom heard anymore. Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis solos on Magic Flea, Jumpin’ At The Woodside, Light And Lovely and Summertime. There’s even a rare chance to hear Basie’s perennial Freddie Green on Frankie & Johnnie who is clearly audible throughout the song.

While there is not sufficient space here to document all the soloists, let’s say that they will not disappoint the discriminating listener. It was great to hear Mary Stalling’s delightful vocals on Four Or Five Times and The Party’s Over. I’ve listened to Mary’s recent recordings on the MaxJazz label and loved them. She had been with the Basie band for only seven month’s when this concert was taped. Stallings left music to raise her child in 1971 and returned in the nineties. She is a true talent!

Good Time Blues is highly recommended listening. Two thumbs up!

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Count Basie
  • CD Title: Good Time Blues
  • Genre: Big Band / Swing
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Pablo
  • Tracks: Hittin’ Twelve; Frankie And Johnnie; Summertime; I Needs To Be Bee’d With; Cute; Light And Lovely; A Night In Tunisia; Sunset Glow; Magic Flea; Good Time Blues; Four Or Five Times; The Party’s Over; One O’Clock Jump; Jumpin’ At The Woodside.
  • Musicians: Count Basie (piano); Gene Coe, Sonny Cohn, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Waymon Reed (trumpets); Frank Hooks, Grover Mitchell, Mel Wanzo, Bill Hughes (trombones); Bobby Plater (alto sax, flute); Bill Adkins (alto sax); Eric Dixon (tenor sax, flute); Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis (tenor sax); Cecil Payne (baritone sax); Freddie Green (guitar); Norman Keenan (bass); Harold Jones (drums); Mary Stallings (vocals).
  • Rating: Five Stars
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