Count Basie – Blues By Basie (Full Album)

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Possibly inspired by Count Basie’s renewed activity at Verve Records in the mid-’50s, Columbia raided its vaults to assemble this thematic album, consisting of a dozen blues cuts dating between 1939 and 1950. The mix of late-’30s/early-’40s big-band swing and 1950-era small group sides makes this a fascinating document of two phases of Basie’s career. The album opens with a bang, with “Tootie,” a fast and lean small group track that offers hot solo spots by Basie at the piano, Buddy De Franco on clarinet, tenor man Charlie Rouse, and drummer Gus Johnson. The album then jumps back 11 years to the band’s cover of Leroy Carr’s “How Long Blues,” featuring a great vocal by Jimmy Rushing and a nice trade-off of riffs between the trumpets (featuring Harry “Sweets” Edison and Buck Clayton) and the trombones. “Way Back Blues,” “Bugle Blues,” and “Royal Garden Blues” are cuts originally credited to the “All-American Rhythm Section” in 1942, prominently featuring Basie in a smaller group setting. Rushing reappears on the rollicking “Blues (I Still Think of Her),” from 1941, which owes a little bit of its structure to “One O’Clock Jump”; “Harvard Blues,” a slow, swinging blues that offers a beautiful extended opening baritone sax solo by Jack Washington; the group’s swing rendition of Casey Bill Weldon’s “I’m Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town”; “Take Me Back Baby,” which offers the trumpets and tenor saxes a chance to shine; and the mournful “Nobody Knows,” the latter dating from 1939 and featuring Basie on the organ. The producers save the most interesting cut, “Bluebeard Blues,” for last — recorded in 1950, it shows Basie in some of the most involved playing of this period, and the group (including Buddy Rich at the drums) pushing their considerable inventiveness (AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder,

Track listing:

A1 Tootie 0:00
A2 How Long Blues 2:50
A3 Way Back Blues 5:55
A4 Blues (I Still Think Of Her) 9:28
A5 Harvard Blues 12:20
A6 Bugle Blues (Interpolation From “Ole Miss” By W.C. Handy) 15:45
B1 Take Me Back, Baby 18:11
B2 The Golden Bullet 21:19
B3 Nobody Knows 23:51
B4 Royal Garden Blues 26:41
B5 I’m Gonna Move To The Outskirts Of Town 29:52
B6 Bluebeard Blues 33:00

12 tunes from 1939 – 1950

Track A1 recorded November 3, 1950.
Track A2 recorded June 24, 1939.
Tracks A3, A6, B4 recorded July 24, 1942.
Track A4 recorded March 19, 1940.
Track A5 recorded November 17, 1941.
Track B1 recorded September 24, 1941.
Tracks B2, B6 recorded May 16, 1950.
Track B3 recorded May 19, 1939.
Track B5 recorded April 3, 1942.


Alto Saxophone – Earle Warren (tracks: A2, A4, A5, B1, B3, B5), Jack Washington (tracks: A2, A4, B3), Tab Smith (tracks: A5, B1, B5)
Baritone Saxophone – Jack Washington (tracks: A2, A4, A5, B1, B3, B5), Serge Chaloff (tracks: A1, B2, B6)
Bass – Jimmy Lewis (2) (tracks: A1, B2, B6), Walter Page (tracks: A2 to B1, B3 to B5)
Clarinet – Buddy DeFranco (tracks: A1, B2, B6)
Drums – Buddy Rich (tracks: B2, B6), Gus Johnson (tracks: A1), Jo Jones (tracks: A2 to B1, B3 to B5)
Featuring – Buck Clayton, Buddy De Franco, Buddy Rich, Buddy Tate, Charlie Rouse, Clark Terry, Don Byas, Freddie Green, Harry Edison, Jo Jones, Serge Chaloff, Walter Page, Wardell Gray
Guitar – Freddie Green
Liner Notes – Charlie Miller, George Avakian
Organ – Count Basie (tracks: B3)
Piano – Count Basie (tracks: A1 to B2, B4 to B6)
Tenor Saxophone – Buddy Tate (tracks: A2, A4, A5, B1, B3, B5), Charlie Rouse (tracks: B2, B6), Don Byas (tracks: A5 to B1, B4, B5), Lester Young (tracks: A2, A4, B3), Wardell Gray (tracks: A1)
Trombone – Benny Morton (tracks: A2, B3), Dan Minor (tracks: A2, A4, A5, B1, B3, B5), Dicky Wells* (tracks: A2, A4, A5, B1, B3, B5), Eli Robinson (tracks: A5, B1, B5), Bob Scott* (tracks: A5, B1, B5), Vic Dickenson (tracks: A4)
Trumpet – Al Killian (tracks: A4, A5, B1, B5), Buck Clayton (tracks: A2, A4 to B1, B3 to B5), Clark Terry (tracks: A1, B2, B6), Ed Lewis (tracks: A2, A4, B3), Harry Edison (tracks: A2, A4, A5, B1, B3, B5), Shad Collins (tracks: A2, B3)


Released: 1956
Duration: 36:05
Recorded: May 19, 1939