Count Basie: Rock and Soul - JazzWax

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March 26, 2012


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Bill Kirchner

I thoroughly enjoy "Basie's Beatle Bag" and think that Chico O'Farrill did an excellent job. And the band roars, especially Lockjaw Davis.

Is this album "Chairman of the Board"? Of course not. But it's great fun and an ideal party record.

As for Norman Granz, he sold Verve in 1961 and to the best of my knowledge had nothing to do with this album or the Basie/Bond album.
The Basie/Beatles album was produced by Pete Spargo and Teddy Reig.


If that clip is any indication, Florence seems to have succeeded in blending equal parts of Beatles, Basie, and Florence. Readers not familiar with his work should check out his own 19 or 20 piece "Limited Edition." Those albums feature mostly his original compositions played by a crack band with some great soloists. I'm fond of one called "Whatever Bubbles Up."

Hans Doerrscheidt

Well...the Jackie Wilson/Count Basie joint venture is fun to listen to, but I'd call it borderline Basie at best.

Anyone interested in "soul-singer-cum-big-band" concept should check out James Brown's "Soul on Top" album as well. Brown is accompanied by Louie Bellson's big band, recorded nearly two years later (Basie/Wilson Jan '68 vs. Brown/Bellson Nov '69).

john p, cooper

I had/heard both the Basie/Beatles LPs - both were dreadful, hopeless messes.

The second one had liner notes by George Harrison or Ringo Starr. It also had a white linen-like cover which lifted the fingerprints of anyone who might touch it and left a grey smudge on the cover. I see above that alternative cover is not an improvement.

Bad days for big bands.

john p, cooper

Earlier cover-

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  • Marc Myers writes regularly for The Wall Street Journal and is author of "Anatomy of a Song" (Grove) and "Why Jazz Happened." Founded in 2007, JazzWax is a two-time winner of the Jazz Journalists Association's best blog award.

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