Personnel: Count Basie (piano); Sammy Nestico (conductor); Bobby Plater (alto saxophone, flute); Marshall Royal (alto saxophone); Eric Dixon (tenor saxophone, flute); Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (tenor saxophone); Chrales Fowlkes (baritone saxophone); Al Aarons, Oscar Brashear, Gene Coe, George Cohn (trumpet); Dick Boone, Steve Galloway, Bill Hughes, Grover Mitchell (trombone); Freddie Green (guitar); Norman Keenan (bass); Harold Jones (drums).
Recorded at TTG Studios, Hollywod, California in October 1968. Originally released on LP on Dot Records (25902). Includes liner notes by Leonard Feather.
Digitally remastered by Shigeo Miyamoto using 20-bit technology.
This set of recordings from the late 1960s presents a lustrous sound so well executed and harmonious, there isn't a rough edge to be found. At this point, Basie had been a bandleader for nearly 35 years, and his leadership here is very different from that of his early days. Here, Basie has given control to the songwriter Sammy Nestico and the results are entrancing.
The melodies are pleasant, but the greatness is in the arrangements and the band's perfect form. The elements of the Basie orchestra are utilized and shown off to their best advantage. In "Magic Flea," crescendos of trumpets fly around into flawless saxophone voicing, each distinctly brilliant and blending together without a hint of clumsiness or obscurity.