Today I was able to track down electronic versions of some recordings that have been sitting on my shelf trapped on vinyl for years. After all this time, what a joy to listen to these albums I first heard back in high school.
In the 1970s, the jazz producer Norman Granz created the Pablo record label on which he captured many of the jazz greats in the latter part of their careers. I have a good number of these albums on vinyl but haven’t had a turntable setup for quite a while now.
These albums were never very highly rated. I think reviewers unfairly wrote off these aging musicians as past their prime or felt that jazz had moved on without them, but in my opinion, they are gold.
Tonight I’m listening to Basie Jam and Basie Jam #2. The personnel list will give you a good idea of how sweet this music is.
Listening to J.J. Johnson’s solo on Hanging Out, almost brought me to tears. I transcribed that solo, memorized it, and used it as an audition piece for jazz-ensemble when I was seventeen years old.
- Count Basie – organ, piano
- Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis – tenor saxophone
- Zoot Sims – tenor saxophone
- J.J. Johnson – trombone
- Harry “Sweets” Edison – trumpet
- Irving Ashby – guitar
- Ray Brown – double bass
- Louie Bellson – drums
Here’s a taste.