Count Basie and his Orchestra – live at The Blue Note, Chicago – February 8, 1953- Stars In Jazz -NBC Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
Count Basie, live at The Blue Note in Chicago and recorded on February 8, 1953 for the Stars In Jazz program over NBC Radio.
In 1950, financial considerations forced Basie to disband the orchestra. But by 1952 he reorganized the band, and the “second” Count Basie Orchestra was considered as exciting, vibrant and even more important than the first. The new outfit toured internationally, playing at the request of kings, queens and presidents, and issued a large number of recordings under Basie’s name and as the backing band for various singers — most notably Frank Sinatra.
Basie added touches of bebop “so long as it made sense”, and he required that “it all had to have feeling”. Basie’s band was sharing Birdland with such bebop greats as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis. Behind the occasional bebop solos, he always kept his strict rhythmic pulse, “so it doesn’t matter what they do up front; the audience gets the beat”. Basie also added flute to some numbers, a novelty at the time that became widely copied. Soon, his band was touring and recording again. The new band included: Paul Campbell, Tommy Turrentine, Johnny Letman, Idrees Sulieman, and Joe Newman (trumpet); Jimmy Wilkins, Benny Powell, Matthew Gee (trombone); Paul Quinichette and Floyd “Candy” Johnson (tenor sax); Marshal Royal and Ernie Wilkins (alto sax); and Charlie Fowlkes (baritone sax). Down Beat magazine reported, “(Basie) has managed to assemble an ensemble that can thrill both the listener who remembers 1938 and the youngster who has never before heard a big band like this.” In 1957, Basie sued the jazz venue Ball and Chain in Miami over outstanding fees, causing the closure of the venue.
In 1958, the band made its first European tour. Jazz was especially appreciated in France, The Netherlands, and Germany in the 1950s; these countries were the stomping grounds for many expatriate American jazz stars who were either resurrecting their careers or sitting out the years of racial divide in the United States. Neal Hefti began to provide arrangements, notably “Lil Darlin'”. By the mid-1950s, Basie’s band had become one of the preeminent backing big bands for some of the most prominent jazz vocalists of the time. They also toured with the “Birdland Stars of 1955”, whose lineup included Sarah Vaughan, Erroll Garner, Lester Young, George Shearing, and Stan Getz.
After more than thirty years in the business, Basie made some of his most popular and critically-acclaimed work, including “April in Paris,” “Shiny Stockings,” “L’il Darling,” “Corner Pocket,” and even a hit single, “Everyday I Have the Blues,” with singer Big Joe Williams.
Sit back and enjoy the show.