Half Notes: Count Basie – Kansas City 3: For the Second Time (1975)

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Those looking to get a groove going inside Count Basie’s sprawling, soul-deep catalogue should start with his 1970s stuff — where, more often than not, you find Basie in accessible, small-group settings. Here’s my favorite, a trio recording originally issued by Pablo that was reissued in 2006. I immediately connected with a session that also features bassist Ray Brown and drummer Louis Bellson. The reason is deceptive simple: This album (along with 1974’s For the First Time) addresses one of the blind spots in the Basie legacy — that such a brilliant blues pianist was so rarely heard front and center. (And it sets up the thundering large-band return of Montreux ’77, an impressive late entry, quite nicely as well.)

Nick’s Picks: “Draw,” “On the Sunny Side of the Street.” Concise coloration, cool calibration, sweet swinging. That’s Basie for you — and perhaps never more so than in this particular trio situation.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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