Thank you to the voting members of The Recording Academy and a huge CONGRATULATIONS to all of the musicians and associates of The Count Basie Orchestra for our GRAMMY nomination today. It’s in the Best Large Jazz Ensemble category for our newest release, Live At Birdland. It’s a huge thrill for all of us and we look forward to being there in January at the ceremony.
Candid Records is pleased to announce the release of LIVE AT BIRDLAND by the legendary Count Basie Orchestra under the direction of Scotty Barnhart on September 17, 2021. The two-album set was recorded “live” at the iconic jazz club which Basie called his musical home in January of 2020 and features seasoned veterans including vocalist Carmen Bradford and trombonist Clarence Bank and emerging voices honoring their fabled and celebrated tradition.
In the summer of 1961 The Count Basie Band played Birdland and a live recording from two of those nights, Basie at Birdland! has been called simply the best live recording of a big band ever. Almost 60 years later, they would return to Birdland to once again record a live record. Those four nights in January 2020 would prove to be fateful as this country and the entire world would fall prey to a global pandemic shortly thereafter and virtually all live music performances would cease for the next year and a half. However, none of these coming challenges were on anyone’s mind as the crowds poured into Birdland that week. The results of those performances find the current band at its peak and mark the latest recording, a two-album set Live at Birdland on the Candid Records label.
“Every year or so that we have played Birdland, I knew the orchestra needed to record there again,” states Scotty Barnhart, who took over the baton as leader 8 years ago. “The 1961 recording is such an important documentation of the orchestra at that point, which was Basie’s 25th year as leader. All of the elements of deep swing, precision, dynamic excitement and outstanding soloists were there. Those elements are still with us today which is the main reason I wanted to capture it live just as in 1961. I made arrangements to get it all done and ended up producing it. There are no overdubs and what you hear is exactly what was played. I think Mr. Basie would be proud to know that his orchestra is still the swingingest and most explosive force in Jazz today.”
The music provides much to explore, analyze, and admire. Mention could be made of how pianist Glen Pearson somehow seems to pair his Powellesque lines with Basie”s uncanny sense of space, and hip, spare voicings; how seamlessly tight the band sounds; how effortlessly it swings at any tempo; and how each soloist makes an individual and meaningful statement. Two of the members of the current incarnation were chosen by Basie himself and many others are long time members. Vocalist Carmen Bradford (1983) and trombonist Clarence Banks (1984) were hired by Basie himself. Carmen left around 1991 and has since joins often as a regular vocalist when she has space in her solo career. Clarence has been there steadily since 1984. “They both are wonderful musicians who have been instrumental in helping us to maintain the highest levels of performance that Basie began in 1935,” states Barnhart. “I’m fortunate to have such a great and dedicated group of musicians who understand each chair where they are sitting and also understand the importance and innovative history of Mr. Basie. “
The repertoire chosen for the double set features Basie gems and also some new songs. Carmen Bradford conveys love and longing on “Only the Young” and swings her way through “Honeysuckle Rose.” Scotty Barnhart puts both his arranging skills and virtuosity on full display on “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” and “There Will Never Be Another You.” On “Moten Swing,” his solo is so soulful and so swinging that by the time he finishes his statement you’re too busy to notice just how technically difficult it is. The track “Four Five Six” begins with an extended piano solo and shows the band still has the swingingest rhythm section in the world. This Frank Foster original wasn’t written with an extended piano solo out front but Scotty put it there because of how well it sets up the tune. “This is classic Basie on the blues, Scotty remarks. “Unmistakable. It’s swingin’ so hard that even before the full orchestra enters, the crowd is already clapping along and shouting feel good comments. This is what great Jazz is about – making people feel good. This is the reaction we get every time we play and it’s especially magnetic during the top of the last chorus of the tenor sax solo by Doug Lawrence. That track defines the recording for me. It’s the blues, features several soloists and grows in excitement each chorus until the end.”
Pianist and bandleader William James “Count” Basie was and still is an American institution that personifies the grandeur and excellence of Jazz. The Count Basie Orchestra, today directed by Scotty Barnhart, has won every respected jazz poll in the world at least once, won 18 Grammy Awards, performed for Kings, Queens, and other world Royalty, appeared in several movies, television shows, at every major jazz festival and major concert hall in the world.
To celebrate the release of LIVE AT BIRDLAND, THE COUNT BASIE ORCHESTRA returns to the iconic club SEPT. 14 – 18, 2021.
For tickets and more information go to Here
2. The Kid from Red Bank
3. Who, Me?
4. Way Out Basie
5. In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
6. Doodle Oodle
7. Four Five Six
8. Basie Power
9. Honeysuckle Rose
10. Only the Young
11. I Can’t Give You Anything But Love
12. Easin’ It
13. What’s New
14. Kansas City Shout
15. How Do You Keep the Music Playing
17. One ‘O Clock Jump
18. The Wind Machine
19. April in Paris
20. There Will Never Be Another You
21. I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face
22. I Needs to Be Bee’d with
23. Flute Juice
24. Moten Swing
25. Blues in Hoss’ Flat
26. Once in a While
27. Five ‘O Clock in the Morning
28. Shiny Stockings
29. What Kind of Fool Am I
30. ‘Deed I Do
31. From One to Another
32. Whirly Bird
33. One O’ Clock Jump (Short)
Jazz is Love: Celebrating the legacy of Count Basie and the 85th Anniversary of The Count Basie Orchestra
Sunday, April 26, at 8pm EST
Here is the link below to join us on Sunday, April 26, at 8pm EST for the discussion and celebration of the legacy of Count Basie and the 85th Anniversary of The Count Basie Orchestra. Joining me on the panel will be former and current CBO musicians including Butch Miles, Charles J. Miles Carmen Bradford, Harold Jones, James Leary, Clarence Banks, Dennis Rowland, members of the Jazz press, along with our management and legal team. It will be a fascinating and revealing look into the musical life of Count Basie by those who worked with him and a great discussion on the continuing legacy of The Count Basie Orchestra, which for the last seven years, has been directed by yours truly.
Don’t miss it!! You can ask any of us questions musical or even trivial and we’ll look forward to our first Zoom session on Count Basie.
The link is below. See you all this coming Sunday at 8pm EST!!
When: Apr 26, 2020 08:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Topic: 8 p.m. (EDT), Jazz is Love: Celebrating the legacy of Count Basie and the 85th Anniversary of The Count Basie Orchestra, a discussion hosted by Scotty Barnhart.
Please click the link below to join the webinar:
Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +13126266799,,94795828576#,,#,704480# or +16465588656,,94795828576#,,#,704480#
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 558 8656 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 669 900 9128
Webinar ID: 947 9582 8576
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/aenbfoSr1p
Copied from Arstash.com – Bill D (https://arstash.com/cd-release-the-count-basie-orchestra-all-about-that-basie/)
If only Wynton Marsalis could have been in The Duke Ellington Orchestra.
If only Rudresh Mahanthappa could have met Charlie Parker.
If only Pat Metheny could have sat in with Wes Montgomery.
If only Kurt Elling could have sung with The Count Basie Orchestra.
But wait a minute. Kurt Elling does sing with The Count Basie Orchestra. On All About That Basie, Kurt Elling, when he sings “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me,” revisits the joy of Sinatra’s work with Basie—documented on Sinatra-Basie, It Might As Well Be Swing and Sinatra at the Sands. Respectfully channeling the spirit of those recordings, Elling performs with straightforward attention to each word. Effortlessly, Elling incorporates the original’s direct-to-the-heart crooning and their inherent swing that marked the success of those albums, even as the recognizable baritone stylings remain Elling’s during the song’s brief inclusion on Concord Jazz’s new album.
If only Count Basie could have adapted in big-band arrangements the songs of talent like, say, Justin Timberlake, Prince, Beyonce or Adele.
But The Count Basie Orchestra does play Adele’s “Hello” on All About That Basie. The performance isn’t an instrumental repetition of the way Adele sings the hit. Rather, it possesses the cohesive movement trademarked by the Orchestra over its now-83 years of existence. The tightness of the entire orchestra’s sound as it plays the melody—and the breakout into eloquent solos without ostentation by trumpeter Kris Johnson and pianist Bobby Floyd (eminently qualified to perform the Basie parts after five years with the Orchestra)—suggest the high level of musicianship offered by the Orchestraom 2018.
The Count Basie Orchestra didn’t stop performing, touring or recording after Basie’s passing in 1984. Its unmistakable sound, whose positive approach made listeners’ lives a little happier and whose infectious swing brought listeners closer together, remains up to this day through a series of leaders, including Thad Jones, Frank Foster, Grover Mitchell, Bill Hughes, Dennis Mackrel and, now, Scotty Barnhart. Proof of the everlasting appeal of Basie’s music, the orchestra’s popularity continues undiminished. As a celebration of everything associated with Basie’s music, All About That Basie includes an array of well-known performers whose mission that they chose to accept was a representation of Basie’s absorption of and adaptability to changing music styles through much of the twentieth century and into the millennium.
The unsurprising characteristic of all eleven tracks of the album is the consistency of the orchestra’s sound as it makes each song its own.
The most famous example would be “April in Paris,” inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. That song’s matchless arrangement forever recalls The Count Basie Orchestra. That association of the song with Basie is visually documented by Mel Brooks’s Blazing Saddles, which unforgettably and hilariously showed the Orchestra performing the song in a desert, Basie greeting Clevon Little, decked out with Gucci saddlebags, as he stands from the polished white grand piano. Shrewdly, instead of merely replaying that same arrangement, heard many many times over the years, Barnhart’s version on All About That Basie features the Hammond B-3 organ. Joey DeFrancesco plays as a solo the melody and a chorus of improvisation backed by the signature trombone phrase, as well as by the full Orchestra, including its One More Time (but not the One More Once).
The 2018 celebration of Ella Fitzgerald’s collaboration with Basie features Carmen Bradford, whom Basie selected as a singer for the original Orchestra. What makes this performance even more significant is the fact that Benny Carter’s arrangement of “Honeysuckle Rose” had never before been recorded. In its premier performance, Bradford sings with joy and ever-present vitality that distinguished the original performance of the song on Ella and Basie! Channeling the essence of Ella with her infallible sense of swing and scatting, Bradford is entirely comfortable with the power of the band behind her. Indeed, she seems to be energized by it.
Part of the appeal of The Count Basie Orchestra is its dynamics. Its containment of power, as the band’s sections blend a broad spectrum of harmonization until its full strength is realized, never fails to fulfill audience expectations. Barnhart’s addition to the Basie Orchestra’s repertoire, “Tequila,” certainly lives up to that reputation. Muted trumpets, conguero Luisito Quintero and guitarist Will Matthews introduce the danceability of the composition. And then trumpeter Jon Faddis comes in, initially understated in Dizzy terms, before moving chorus by chorus into even more combustible territory. His medium-volume start evolves into an exciting finish of unrestrained might, an open trumpet section’s is-it-live-or-is-it-Memorem? Volume, and Faddis’s stratospheric high notes.
All About That Basie recollects the band leader’s early years as Jamie Davis pays a vocalist’s tribute to his respected influence, Jimmy Rushing, whose Kansas City singing experience included years with Walter Page’s Blue Devils and Bennie Moten’s band before joining Basie’s. Accompanied by the band’s shuffle beat, with licks provided by trumpeter Barnhart and saxophonist Rickey Woodard, baritone blues singer Davis engages audiences with direct appeal, telling stories through singing, and then moving into a spoken plea for listeners to “come back to me.”
Similarly, Take Six re-interprets the mid-fifties Basie/Joe Williams hit, “Everyday I Have the Blues,” with impeccable Gene Puerling-like harmonies as the Basie band, all the while, provides the accented punches and a pulsating irresistible swing. Wycliffe Gordon makes memorable the Orchestra’s new arrangement of Earth Wind and Fire’s “Can’t Hide Love,” not as a replication of the melody, but as a plunger-muted, trombone-talking takeoff into highest-quality instrumental adaptation.
Yet another highlight of the album is Stevie Wonder’s participation with the Orchestra in performing harmonica on, but not singing, his own song, “My Cherie Amour.” The musical palette for the arrangement already existed on albums like The Atomic Mr. Basie, which included Neal Hefti’s inimitable arrangements. Except for the all-out back-beat swing of the track’s final choruses, Wonder plays harmonica throughout over the “Li’l Darlin’”-like unrushed, unified sound, unmistakable as Basie’s.
As a drummer not only with The Count Basie Orchestra, but also with Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Stevie Wonder, Concord Records producer Gregg Field recognized through personal experience the significance of Basie as a musical icon in American music. If only Basie, who developed the orchestra’s distinctive sound, were still recording. But his Orchestra is. Along with Barnhart, who has kept The Count Basie Orchestra’s vitality undiminished, Field was made available yet another reminder of the gentle force of the Orchestra that has endeared it to audiences for decades.
The inaugural celebration of Count Basie in the American Jazz Walk of Fame took place in Kansas City, MO on August 23rd 2014. The plaque unveiling was followed by The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra performing to a sell-out audience at the Gem Theatre
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