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Swinging, Singing, Playing
     

Swinging, Singing, Playing

by Count Basie Orchestra
 
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

Overview

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.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/25/2009
Label:
Mack Avenue
UPC:
0673203104822
catalogNumber:
31048

Related Subjects

Tracks

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   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   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
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
Dennis Quartet Wilson   Arranger,Producer
Jerrold Bock   Composer
Dennis Wilson   Audio Production
Gretchen Valade   Executive Producer

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