Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Norman Granz Jazz in Montreux Presents Count Basie Big Band '77|
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Continuing our Norman Granz Jazz In Montreux series is a 1977 concert by the Count Basie Big Band. Basie was quite simply the greatest bandleader in the history of jazz, as well as one of the most consistent sellers in thi... more »
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Swinging and Enjoyable Basie
John Tapscott | Canada | 03/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD comes from a performance by the Count Basie Orchestra at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1977. This music is very familar to Basie buffs since it became available on record since soon after it was recorded. Now it turns out that the set was not only taped for record but was also video-recorded, apparently for a European television program.
So now we have this welcome DVD which contains a typically spirited and swinging performance by a fine edition of the Basie Band. The set list contains a couple of fairly recent charts by Sammy Nestico ("Freckle Face" is one of the set's highlights and spotlights the Basie band's great control of dynamics). Reaching back into the early Basie band repetoire we get versions of "Jumpin' at the Woodside" and the set closer, "One O'Clock Jump." There are tunes from the Basie Band's middle period such as "I Needs to Be Bee'd With", "L'il Darlin'", and a very spirited reading of "Splanky". There is also a seldom heard version of "A Night in Tunisia", featuring a sparkling fluegelhorn solo by Waymon Reed.
The other soloists are well featured, including trombonist Al Grey who impresses on his feature, "The More I See You", and really tears it up with plunger mute on "I Needs to Be Bee'd With." (Grey also acts as chief cheerleader for the band; the Basie band was not only enjoyable to hear, but entertaining to see as well, as there was a fine sense of showmanship in the band.) Tenor saxophonist Jimmy Forrest is very forceful in his solo spots, including his ballad feature "Bag of Dreams." Trumpeters Bobby Mitchell and Sonny Cohn, along with tenor saxophonist and Eric Dixon make good use of their solo space. The band is really sparked by lead trumpeter Lyn Biviano and drummer Butch Miles. And of course, there is Basie, whose economical piano playing is a delight and sets the stage perfectly for the band's swinging charts. Despite the fact that Basie never really pushes himelf to the forefront, there is no doubt that this is his band and that he is fully in charge.
The recorded sound is excellent and well balanced, allowing us to clearly hear the various instruments and sections, including the rhythm guitar of Freddie Greene and the baritone saxophone of Charlie Fowlkes. The camera work is a little less stellar, however. I wish there had been more shots of drummer Butch Miles who not only plays like Buddy Rich, but also tries his best to look like him. As well, there could have been more shots of the full band in action, and it would be have been good to see Basie himself from more angles. Furthermore, "Whirly-Bird" (not "Fantail" as listed), cuts off just as Miles begins his drum solo. Then the DVD suddenly picks up in the middle of "Jumpin' at the Woodside." Plus one track that appeared on the LP, "Hittin' Twelve", is omitted. All this betrays the fact that the original video recording was made in order to fit the one hour TV time slot. For some reason, the full personnel details which were listed on the original recording, are no where to be found.
But even with these minor reservations, "Basie Big Band '77" is a warmly recommended DVD and reminds us why hearing and seeing the Basie band was one of jazz's enduring pleasures."
Great, but the '62 band/DVD is better
K. Martin | Fairfax VA | 08/24/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great quality DVD.
The band is not as swingy as the band that you can catch on the "Count Basie: Live In '62" though and I did not find it nearly as enjoyable. It does not seem like the "real" Basie Band. Butch Miles is more intense then Sonny Payne and the band is sweating and not as relaxed as a result.
Overall, the playing and song selections are not as bluesy or groovy and I was in no hurry to hear the DVD a second time - it just does not get me off like the '62 DVD. It is not nearly as special.
My only true complaints are that I wish they did not insult the great Butch Miles by chopping out his solo on "Whirly Bird". I would have rather they chopped out the introductory comments."