Swinging, Singing, Playing

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
Former Count Basie trombonist Dennis Wilson, who has spent many years teaching at the University of Michigan, takes over the reins of the big band as an arranger for this effort that features three appearances by Manhattan Transfer vocalist Janis Siegel and two from Nnenna Freelon. Familiar standards, some lesser-known tunes, and four of Wilson's originals are tossed together to vary the program. Siegel and Freelon sound comfortable in this setting, while given ample opportunity to sing well-known songs in their own way, while Jamie Cullum and Jon Hendricks also get spotlight cameos. There are instrumentals as well, and pianist Geri Allen -- one of several fine guest ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Michael G. Nastos
Former Count Basie trombonist Dennis Wilson, who has spent many years teaching at the University of Michigan, takes over the reins of the big band as an arranger for this effort that features three appearances by Manhattan Transfer vocalist Janis Siegel and two from Nnenna Freelon. Familiar standards, some lesser-known tunes, and four of Wilson's originals are tossed together to vary the program. Siegel and Freelon sound comfortable in this setting, while given ample opportunity to sing well-known songs in their own way, while Jamie Cullum and Jon Hendricks also get spotlight cameos. There are instrumentals as well, and pianist Geri Allen -- one of several fine guest stars added on -- flies on the piece "Giant Blues Flag Waver," where staccato accents collide head on with hard bop. A natural guest for the Basie band, Frank Wess brings his always effervescent flute to top off and play in perfect tandem with the horns on the Quincy Jones arrangement of his classic and endearing tune "Jessica's Day." Wilson's "Dark Morning" is a classic ballad/blues with a solo from the rising star of jazz trumpet Scotty Barnhart, while "Naomi's Blues" is a cool, clean drink of water with slight flavor additives from two criminally underrated jazz veterans -- bassist James Leary and trombonist Clarence Banks. Of the vocal tracks, Cullum's Mark Murphy light style is unforced and frankly flatly effaced on the ballad "Blame It on My Youth," while Hendricks shows how to do it up right, in call and response with Curtis Fuller's trombone and Wilson's pixie muted trombone during the tick-tock neo-bopper "Blues on Mack Avenue." Siegel is her reliable self, singing the tale of her hip male friend during "Like Young," running along the rails with bassist Rufus Reid on "Close Your Eyes," and swooning delicately with pianist Hank Jones, Reid, and restrained drummer Butch Miles on the delicate "I Have Waited So Long." Freelon really digs in on her take of the spirited swinger "Too Close for Comfort," albeit a half step off, while her scatting with the brushed drumming of Miles on the intro of "Yesterdays" prompts the horns to slowly creep in, then roar. Though there's nothing remarkably innovative here, what is impressive is the consistency of the group playing together as a whole, and if you like jazz singers, this will appeal to you. It's a fine tribute to masters who are with and not with us, one that Mr. Basie would certainly approve of.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/25/2009
  • Label: Mack Avenue
  • UPC: 673203104822
  • Catalog Number: 31048
  • Sales rank: 109,434

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Count Basie Orchestra Primary Artist
Geri Allen Piano, Guest Appearance
Curtis Fuller Trombone, Guest Appearance
Hank Jones Piano
Rufus Reid Bass, Bass Guitar, Guest Appearance
Janis Siegel Vocals, Guest Appearance
Nnenna Freelon Vocals, Guest Appearance
Clarence Banks Trombone, Guest Appearance, Group Member
Scotty Barnhart Trumpet, Soloist, Group Member
Barry Cooper Bass Trombone, Group Member
Cleave E. Guyton Jr. Alto Saxophone, Group Member
Jon Hendricks Vocals, Guest Appearance
Doug Lawrence Tenor Saxophone, Soloist
James Leary Bass, Soloist
Butch Miles Drums, Guest Appearance
Frank Wess Flute, Guest Appearance
James Zollar Trumpet, Soloist, Group Member
Mike "Love" Williams Trumpet, Group Member
Will Matthews Guitar, Group Member
Kriss T. Johnson Jr. Trumpet, Group Member
Jamie Cullum Piano, Vocals, Guest Appearance
Tony Suggs Piano, Guest Appearance
Marion Felder Drums
Dennis Quartet Wilson Conductor
Technical Credits
Quincy Jones Arranger, Composer
André Previn Composer
Oscar Levant Composer
Don Heckman Liner Notes
Jerome Kern Composer
Otto Harbach Composer
Edward Heyman Composer
Al Pryor Producer, Audio Production
Sarah Vaughan Composer
George David Weiss Composer
Todd Whitelock Engineer
Maria Ehrenreich Creative Services Director
Bernice Petkere Composer
Raj Naik Art Direction
Missy Webb Digital Editing
Dennis Quartet Wilson Arranger, Producer
Jerrold Bock Composer
Dennis Wilson Audio Production
Gretchen Valade Executive Producer
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