Count Basie occasionally cautioned young sidemen who were feeling their oats not to play bebop in his band, which was rooted in the rhythmic and harmonic soil of the swing era. How, then, could Basie be expected to make an album with Dizzy Gillespie, one of the progenitors of bop? Happily. Before he began evolving bebop, Gillespie was a swing-era musician. He and Basie operated from a common store of jazz knowledge and wisdom. Masters of time and the blues, they had no difficulty accommodating one another, none at all. This 1977 album is built on the blues. The limitless possibilities inherent in the form summoned the inventiveness, flexibility, and enthusiasm of all the players. Bass and drums are by Ray Brown and Mickey Roker, musicians unquestionably qualified to make music with two of the seminal figures in jazz.
Back to the Land, Constantinople, You Got It, St. James Infirmary, Follow the Leader, Ow!