Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Oscar Peterson and Count Basie Together in Concert 1974|
Actors: John Duke, Charles Fowlkes, Curtis Fuller, Freddie Green, Big Joe Turner
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
Basie's Big Band, plus Joe Turner and Oscar Peterson
Peter Feng | Wilmington, DE United States | 01/21/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD features Oscar Peterson in one solo number and three duets with bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted-Pedersen, three numbers with Peterson and Basie on two pianos (accompanied by rhythm section), one blues from Joe Turner backed by a combo, and six tunes by Basie's orchestra. The DVD producers have dated the concert (probably incorrectly) as November 8, 1974, and listed musicians who played with Basie in late 1975. I've done my best to identify the musicians correctly, drawing from Chris Sheridan's Count Basie: A Bio-Discography (Discographies) (that info follows). Note that Sheridan gives a set list dated October 28 that doesn't match this concert (and identifies Jake Hanna as the drummer for the two-piano combo): this info may simply be misreported, or perhaps it is an accurate set list for one of the other concerts from the same tour, which began in London on September 28 and criss-crossed northern Europe before ending in Prague. Basie's itinerary (given in Sheridan's appendix) says the band performed in Prague on Oct. 26, 1974. I speculate that November 8 may have been the date of TV broadcast.
The sound is mono and pretty good, although it is hard to make out the two pianos (tracks 5-7). The color image is also in pretty good shape, although there is some distortion (waviness). The camerawork is typical for the period: the camera sits on the soloist for the most part, although there are occasional random cutaways. There's a quick fade-up at the beginning of the Big Band set -- the DVD producers may have edited out an announcer or graphic that indicates the provenance. They've superimposed an "IJ" logo in the upper left corner. The packaging is minimal -- they have the wrong title for the Joe Turner blues and for almost all the Big Band numbers.
For me, this DVD is valuable for the Basie Band. On a good day, Peterson can be a monster, but often his virtuosity seems merely flashy -- he's not very rhythmically interesting in this set. The sound quality of the Basie-Peterson numbers is a bit muddy, but I did enjoy seeing Basie's expressive face (he shoots looks at Peterson that seem to say, "you didn't just do that" and "how do you expect me to keep up with you").
Basie's 1970s band may not have the notoriety of the "Old Testament" or "New Testament" editions, but they had snap and power and made a series of great records for Pablo. This edition has solid soloists in each section. The under-appreciated Minger has a typically quirky solo on "Mr. Softy," and the short-lived Davis-Forrest tenor line-up is one of Basie's best since Lester Young and Herschel Evans. (They both solo on "Basie Power" but they don't trade bars; "Jumpin' at the Woodside" didn't become a duel until around 1977, too bad for us.) Grey works the plunger on "I Needs to Be Bee'd With," and Peagler takes an extended solo (solid but not exceptional) before the out-chorus of "Cherry Point."
In sum: this is a poorly annotated DVD, valuable mostly because there's not a lot of available footage of Basie's 1970s band. Basie freaks rejoice! If you're interested in Oscar Peterson or Joe Turner, you can probably pass. (Look for Flip, Flop & Fly -- a 1989 Pablo CD issue of a 1972 concert tour of Turner with Basie -- and for Satch and Josh for Basie & Peterson in the studio, also on Pablo.)
1. Old Folks / We'll Be Together Again
Peterson & NHOP (duo)
2. Just Friends
3. I Love You (Porter)
4. Mack the Knife
Peterson, Basie, Freddie Green, NHOP, prob Skeets Marsh (d)
5. Royal Garden Blues
6. "Slow Blues in G"
7. Jumpin' at the Woodside
Basie Big Band: Lin Biviano, Pete Minger, Sonny Cohn, Oliver Beener (tp); Mel Wanzo, Al Grey, Lincoln Ross, Bill Hughes (tb); Bobby Plater, Curtis Peagler (as); Lockjaw Davis, Jimmy Forrest (ts); John C. Williams (bs); Basie (p); Green (g); Bill Davis (b); Marsh (d).
8. Basie Power (feat. Lockjaw & Forrest) [not "Fun Time"]
9. Mr. Softy (feat. Minger) [not "Why Not"]
10. Body and Soul (feat. Forrest)
11. I Needs to Be Bee'd With (feat. Grey) ["Blues in G"]
12. Cherry Point (feat. Peagler) [not "Blues in B" - actually it's B-flat]
Big Joe Turner (vo), with Cohn, Grey, Peagler, Davis, plus the Basie rhythm section.
13. "Hide and Seek" [not "Oh Boy"]
Basie Big Band
14. Jumpin' at the Woodside [feat. Minger & Forrest]
Great recordings of the greatest jazz performers of our time
Socrates Socrates | 02/03/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"No words (at least I do not have) can fully describe the performances as captured in this DVD. Mr Oscar Peterson and Mr Count Basie, may their souls rest in peace, are among the greatest jazz artists.
In this DVD you'll find and enjoy single and joint performances by these greats. I was not disappointed by any of the tracks in this DVD and have no doubt if you appreciate some of the works done by any of them, you too will sure enjoy it. For me at least it was worth the money and most importantly the time spent watching."
Lesley D. Gipson | Reno, NV USA | 10/08/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you like twin pianos and slow blues, this will keep you smiling all the way through. I love it!"