Count Basie: Jazz Icons 1962 DVD 2006

The most intriguing collection of archival jazz footage since Ken Burns' "Jazz" documentary. Each title in the series features full length concert or studio performances by the greatest legends of jazz, filmed all over the world from the 1950's through the 1970's. None of these programs have ever been officially released on video!

Each DVD has been beautifully transferred from the original masters and features a 16 page booklet filled with rare photographs and an essay written by authoritative jazz historians such as Will Friedwald, Ira Gitler, Rob Bowman and others. Jazz Icons DVDs are produced with the full support and cooperation of the artists or their estates, who've contributed rare photos and memorabilia.

Product Reviews

The concert captured on William "Count" Basie's entry in the "must-own" audio/video Jazz Icons series comes from the vaults of SVT (aka Swedish Television). Modern eyes and ears are whisked to April 24, 1962, with Basie conducting his Atomic-era orchestra, the name having been derived from the memorable A-bomb image on the cover of the 1955 Basie LP. On this evening, a star-studded aggregate joins the bandleader. The participants include Marshall Royal (alto sax), Frank Wess (alto/tenor sax), Eric Dixon (tenor sax), Frank Foster (tenor sax), Charlie Fowlkes (baritone sax), Al Aarons (trumpet), Sonny Cohn (trumpet), Thad Jones (trumpet), Snooky Young (trumpet), Henry Coker (trombone), Quentin Jackson (trombone), Benny Powell (trombone), Freddie Green (guitar), Eddie Jones (bass), Sonny Payne (drums), and -- last but certainly far from least -- Irene Reid (vocals). The 50-minute gig gets underway with all of the sublime style and refined swing and precision of the Frank Foster-written and scored Basie band favorite "Easin' It." The small grouping of Basie, Jones, Green, and Payne submit to the full-tilt 13-piece horns as they rip into the arrangement prior to the trombone and the trumpet sections, which display their equally impressive skills. Deserving special mention is Quentin "Butter" Jackson and his talkin' trombone. "Corner Pocket" might have an air of familiarity, as it had been called "Until I Met You" as recently as the previous year when Sarah Vaughan was in the Basie family. The catchy melody supplies a pliable platform for the brass and reeds' musical cat and mouse. Jones, Aarons, and Wess then respectively up the ante with high-energy interjections. Just as easily, Basie brings the ensemble down to a whisper to support Cohn's empathetic leads throughout a dazzling and moody take of "Stella by Starlight." Few performances so aptly display both the might and majesty of the Count Basie Orchestra as they ably support the melody without ever getting in the way of Cohn's leadership. "Back to the Apple" is a Basie crowd-pleaser that harks back to what he referred to as his "Old Testament" unit. The sonic infusion of the Atomic-era incarnation takes the tune to new heights, and nowhere is the arena of showmanship as thoroughly captured. For instance, when the trumpet-line players use their derbies as mutes, it enhances with a visual effect that is unlike anything else happening at the time. Basie and Eddie Jones kick off Quincy Jones' understated and bluesy "I Needs to Be Bee'd With" as the pianist's off-kilter runs suggest those of Thelonious Monk. Again, "Butter" Jackson's trombone antics are priceless. Vocalist Reid is spotlighted by Basie prior to launching into a bebop and improvisation-heavy version of the Gershwin standard "I Got Rhythm." However, she truly steals the scene with her soulful reading of the Bessie Smith classic "Back Water Blues." Her gutsy yet coy irresistibility illuminates the number and, when coupled with her uncanny and remarkable vocal antics, Reid really sets the stage alight -- especially when facing off with Jackson. "Alexander's Ragtime Band" is the last vocal entry, and her penchant for perfect phonetics makes for another sizzler. "Ol' Man River" is taken at such a quick tempo that it is initially unrecognizable. Attention is then given to the irrepressible and animated Sonny Payne. His percussive antics not only predate the Who's Keith Moon by several years, but serve as a prototype for the drummer -- who is typically shoved to the rear of the stage -- as a front-line performer. The concluding Basie original "One O'Clock Jump" is a brief encore of sorts that allows the group a final chance to blow. While it should go without saying, anyone wishing to experience Count Basie & His Orchestra at their collective peak is encouraged to seek out this DVD, as it promises inspiration and influe



Count Basie
Jazz Icons: Count Basie
Music Video & Concerts, Pop
Big Band, Music Video (Concert / Performance)
26 September 2006
Not Rated

Technical Information View Help for Technical Details

26 September 2006
0 : Region-Free
1.33:1 (Pre-1954 Standard), Black and White
Dolby Digital Mono, English
Discs:1 ~ Format:Ntsc ~ Region:0
Basie,Count Clr Dvd-Standard


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