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Count Basie: April In Paris

Count Basie April In Paris

Count Basie: April In Paris

Original Liner Notes:
One night in Birdland the Count Basie band was playing a new arrangement by William "Wild Bill" Davis of an old song by Vernon Duke - "April In Paris". It's a striking song in a number of ways since E. Y. (Yip) Harburg fashioned words to Duke's melody, it becomming the most memorable feature of a 1932 Broadway show called "Walk A Little Faster". In Davis' arrangement there is one sequence which might well be an instrumental solo except that in Basie's hands the entire ensemble goes to work - the effect being, to say the least, highly unusual; hearing it for the first time one assumes that the band is playing an ad lib melody. Finally, there's the ending, which is a delightful fooler, as all jazz followers are aware by now. Well, on thie night in Birdland it seemed natural for Basie to give his orders verbally. "One more time," he directed. Then: "One More - once ..."

The result? One of Basies' biggest hits and, no one on the most frequently requested tunes wherever the Basie aggregation goes. It's typical Basie, of course - swinging, exciting, weightless with a sound that's immediately identifiable. The solos in "April In Paris", incidentally, are authored by Thad Jones on trumpet and Benny Powell on trombone, and the piano, of course, belongs to William "Count" Basie.

The various facets of the Basie band, a three-time winner in Down Beat's annual Jazz Critics Poll, come to light with infections vigor in the other selections in the album. Taking them in order, "Corner Pocket" is an Ernie Wilkins arrangement, with the trumpets of Thad Jones and Joe Newman coming in strong after a brisk little introductory figure by Basie's piano; Frank Wess, tenor saxophone, also takes a solo. Frank Foster's "Did'n You" shows the reeds to good advantage and there's a very mellow trombone contributed by Henry Coker. "Sweety Cakes", by Ernie Wilkins, is likewise in the mellow mood with almost gentle piano work by Basie. "Magic" is a tricky Frank Wes tune with Wess himself featured on the tenor saxophone. Frank Foster's "Shinny Stockings" reveals the Basie crew in a particularly hard-blowing jazz mood while another Foster arrangement, this one of Duke Ellington's "What Am I Here For", features Joe Newman's trumpet and Frank Wess on flute along with Basie's piano. "Midgets", by Joe Newman, will put you in mind precisely of little people at play -the muted trumpet is Newman's, too. For a change of pace, "Mambo Inn" sends the Basie band into a Latin-American tempo and some blistering ensemble work. Joe Newman's trumpet and Frank Foster on tenor the solos in the jumping "Dinner With Friends", a Neal Hefti arrangement.

The Personnel: Joe Newman, Thad Jones, Wendell Cully, Reunald Jones, trumpets; Henry Coker, Benny Powell, Bill Hughes, trombones; Marshall Royal, Billy Graham, alto saxophone; Charlie Fowlkes, baritone saxophone; Count Basie, piano; Freddie Greene, guitar; Ed Jones, bass; Sonny Payne, drums.

Track Listing:
April In Paris
Corner Pocket
Did'n You
Sweety Cakes
Magic
Shiny Stockings
What Am I Here For
Midgets
Mambo Inn
Dinner With Friends

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