The Complete Roulette Live Recordings of Count Basie and His Orchestra (1959-1962) The gospel according to Basie exists in two testaments: the Old (a scrappy, star-studded blues band out of Kansas City in the '30s) and the… The Complete Roulette Live Recordings of Count Basie and His Orchestra (1959-1962) The gospel according to Basie exists in two testaments: the Old (a scrappy, star-studded blues band out of Kansas City in the '30s) and the… Count Basie Sarah Vaughan Joe Williams Jazz
Music Review

The Complete Roulette Live Recordings of Count Basie and His Orchestra (1959-1962) (1991)

EW's GRADE
A+

Details Lead Performance: Count Basie; Genre: Jazz

The gospel according to Basie exists in two testaments: the Old (a scrappy, star-studded blues band out of Kansas City in the '30s) and the New (an ironclad precision machine designed by a staff of ace arrangers, built in New York in the '50s). The best of the New Testament band is in The Complete Roulette Live Recordings of Count Basie and His Orchestra, and only a small portion of it has ever been released before. You may think eight CDs (or 12 LPs) is more Basie than you need, but this music amounts to a sustained revelation — some of the most intoxicating big-band sounds ever recorded. Basie's late-'50s group attained near-perfection in each of its instrumental sections, yet the trumpets are particularly staggering: They shake the rafters and modulate their vibrato in unerring unison. The leader's aphoristic piano is beautifully captured; the arrangements (by Thad Jones, Ernie Wilkins, Neal Hefti, Frank Foster, and others) are often inspired; the singers include Joe Williams, Irene Reid, and — on one scintillating duet with O.C. Smith — Sarah Vaughan. Turn up the volume; this is bliss. A+

Originally posted Oct 25, 1991 Published in issue #89 Oct 25, 1991 Order article reprints