Virtually to the end, Count Basie was at the piano in front of the band that was his natural environment for more than half a century, inspiring music that defined the verb "to swing." In this collection recorded a little more than a year before he died, Basie divided the performances between the big band and a small group. In his last couple of decades, Basie went into the Pablo studios frequently with combos ranging in size from two (the pianist and Zoot Sims) to the octet heard here. In this case, the small group came out of the big band and featured the bright young trumpeter Bob Summers along with veteran trombonist Booty Wood and saxophonists Eric Dixon and Chris Woods. In large group or small, Basie and guitarist Freddie Green were at the heart of the rhythm, lifting the proceedings to a rarified plane of swing never to be duplicated after they were gone.
Mr. Softie, Moten Swing, She's Funny That Way; Right On, Right On; Me and You, Crip, Bridge Work, Easy Living
with Sonny Cohn, Dale Carley, Grover Mitchell, Dennis Wilson, Mitchell "Booty" Wood, Eric Dixon, Danny Turner, Freddie Green, Cleveland Eaton, Dennis Mackrel, and others