Count To Eight


During the decades that Count Basie ran his big band, he survived the lean times by leading smaller outfits. Around 1980, he made several albums for Pablo with combos called the Kansas City 8 (or 7 or 6). Recorded during this period, Get Together features an all-star cast of Basie regulars.

It's pretty amazing that members of Basie's early-'30s orchestra, like guitarist Benny Green, were still playing together in the '80s. He and Basie are joined by drummer Gus Johnson and a young John Clayton on bass.

Basie originally conceived his big band on the idea that the horns would play so tightly each section would sound like a single man, so sizing down wasn't that foreign of a concept. Here the sections are distilled down to four top jazz players -- trumpeters Clark Terry and Harry "Sweets" Edison and saxmen Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis and Budd Johnson.

Available in the Digital Only section, the set features six perfectly executed tracks, which includes a medley of "I Can't Get Started" and "What Will I Tell My Heart." My favorite is "Ode To Pres" (Lester Young being another Basie alum), with Terry playing a stellar Harmon-muted solo backed only by Clayton's bass.

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    Ode To Pres

    Count Basie And The Kansas City 8, from Ge ...