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on 6 October 2001
Some of the finest jazz, including such tracks as 'Splanky' and 'Midnite Blue'. Count Basie has got to be one of the greatest jazz artists and this CD portrays this perfectly. I still enjoy listening to the album, even though I have heard numerous times before. The Cd has an excellent array of tracks, well-known and not so well-known, and I think is the ultimate Atomic Basie!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 October 2006
This is one of the finest big band jazz albums you can buy. I grew up listening to this as my Dad (sadly dec'd) played it very loud at parties.

The Kid from Red Bank is an explosive start with Basie striding and the band screams in support. So much for Basie the minimalist!
There are a lot of great tunes on this album, and when they are played by a big band as good as this it makes it something very special.
Whirlybird is another screamer - fabulous Sax playing by I think Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis.

Absolutely essential for any Jazz collection and one of the most exciting albums ever recorded. Thanks Dad.
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on 1 April 2007
A great band and the well balanced mono sound is superb, as you would expect of Basie at his prime. Better than the original discs, my wife even likes this big band sound! (as does the parrot!) Much of it has unfamiliar titles but very familiar tunes, the Basie we hear all the time on the radio of course! A class act but then all the bands that survived to the late 50's and beyond had that in common (compare with Kenton at the Tropicana, the Herman 1963 Philips disc etc). Buy it!
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Recorded in 1957/8, some 20 years after his breakthrough, this period was one of the high points of the career of Basie and his orchestra. Though they were missing the creative genius of the likes of Lester Young, which had helped to make their name, the outfit was still a tight playing unit, perfectly in sync with each other. Rooted in the tradition of big band swing (which they helped to define, so why not?) with elements of the modern styles that were coming in, this is an almost perfect album. Packed full of swinging tunes, the record fairly bursts with energy. It's a perfect listen, full of vitality, vim and vigour. Recommended to any swing/jazz lover.
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on 12 February 2010
I had this on vinyl and had played it until it was grey despite the fact that it was not my"sort"of jazz.I was more interested in the New Orleans revival stuff.Be that as it may,this CD demonstrates just about everything that is good about Jazz.here you have perfect arrangements that do not impair the inspirational improvisation of the soloists and the whole is driven along by,what must be,the finest rhythm section of any style of jazz anywhere in the world.A sweeping statement?Perhaps, but just listen and you will have to admit that I might be justified in making it.Payne,Jones and Green just POWER along without being noisy or brash whilst the Count ripples on top like the bubbles in a glass of champagne. I will not attempt to "review" the soloists;they are the aces in the pack,each and every one of them. This disc makes me glad that I am old enough to have heard this band live on more than one occaision.If you didn't(or if you did)and don't yet have this CD then buy it,buy it,BUY IT!! and you will have the nearest thing to a live performance. It is a must for anyone's record collection.
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on 14 March 2002
The cloud of fire on the sleeve is just perfect for this work. By the 1950's the basie band had got really heated up. Leaving behind the cooler, sweeter days of Lester Young and Billie Holiday, by now Basie was fanning his blasting horns with charts that acted like a turbo-charger - whirlwind- damn right!
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on 4 September 2009
Having listened to a lot of big band music whilst at school, I was under the impression that I'd be in a good position to gauge how good Basie and his band were at this stage. It turns out that I was a moron who knew nothing about proper big band music!

This album marked a renaissance for Basie, as his peak had seemingly come and gone with the turn of the 50's, a period in which he stopped recording with his big band. A meeting with arranger Neal Heftie was to provide the spark for this album and a triumphant return.

The contrasting shades that the brass section manage during this album are remarkable, as is the tight rhythm section, which can seemingly bring swing to any of the songs on the record. Highlights include "Whirly Bird" and the delightful closer, "Li'l Darlin'," a track which is just meant to be listened to late at night, when the lights are low and the smoke hangs thickly in the air.

The bonus tracks (from 12 onwards) are also a welcome addition, without taking anything away from the excellent original album.
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This is a superb album featuring the inimitable big band of Count Basie. This music is just pure gold standard audio heaven. It conjures up a variety of moods, all guaranteed to brighten up your day, no matter how bad it might be going.

I am normally listening to rock or small group jazz, so this is quite a bit out of my normal "comfort zone". However, it is great music played by an outstanding band being led by a charismatic and gifted leader.

Essential!
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on 25 July 2013
A burst of energy and a foot tapping cd if ever there was. Another great cd from the era of dance and entertainment. Imagine dancing with your partner in a time when everyone was in the same boat and hungry for a good night out. Dance floors were filled and young people as well as older ones, got dressed up and forgot about their woes. I think my carpet will need replacing soon!
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on 1 September 2013
I can't praise this CD enough and enjoy every minute of it. The band romps away through all the tracks and this is one of my very favourite albums.
I can listen to again and again without getting bored even though I know every note now. Every Basie fan should have this album.
S.Jones
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