June 14, 2024


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CD review: Basie All Stars – Live at Fabrik Hamburg 1981 Vol. 1 – 2023: Video, CD cover

Another gem! Classic mainstream in the true Basie formula. “Four bars to the bar and no cheatin” as the Count was famously quoted as saying when asked to define swing.

There certainly wasn’t any cheatin’ going on, at least not on stage, at Hamburg’s Fabrik on May 5, 1981 when eight Basie alumni ancient and modern teamed up with Nat Pierce who had Basie’s distinctive piano style off to a tee.

Joe Newman came to the Corner House with attitude just a year later and didn’t win any fans. That attitude is noticeably absent here and he is in scintillating form. Edison and Tate had no problems on their visits to the Heaton hostelry and the audience loved them as did the enthusiastic crowd in Hamburg. Both have fiery solos as well as emotive ballad performances. Tate on Everything Happens to me and Edison on I’m Confessin’ That I Love You. Pierce too has a solo on this one that is perhaps more modern than Basie would have done but, none the worse for that. The fade out ending with just Sweets and bassist Heard literally (well not literally) brought the house down and received the longest and loudest applause of the set so far.

Marshall Royal is in Hodges-like mode on Gordon Jenkins’ This is All I Ask and Benny Powell makes the emotional plea, Please Send me Someone to Love.

The US/EU Jazz & Blues Association (US/EU JBA): Who we are 2012 – 2023! Photo

The closing Little Pony, originally recorded by the great Wardell Gray has, like the opener Bluebird Blues, everyone going for broke. The number finished but the crowd weren’t having it. They stamped their feet and refused to let them leave the stage for a shot of Hamburg hootch and it was left to Billy Mitchell to cut loose and keep the hordes at bay. And this was just the first set! The second volume, I’m told, features Joe Williams. Joe will have to be at the top of his game to follow this – I can’t wait! Lance.

1 Bluesbird Blues (Live) 09:33
2 Please Send Me Someone To Love (Live) 06:02
3 Shiny Stockings (Live) 09:09
4 Everything Happens To Me (Live) 06:25
5 This Is All I Ask (Live) 06:37
6 I’m Confessin’ That I Love You (Live) 08:32

Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, Joe Newman (trumpet); Benny Powell (trombone); Marshall Royal (alto sax); Buddy Tate, Billy Mitchell (tenor sax); Nat Pierce (piano); John Heard (bass); Gus Johnson (drums).

Live at Fabrik Hamburg 1981, Vol. 1 (Live)". Album of Count Basie buy or  stream. | HIGHRESAUDIO

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