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Count Basie: Pablo Records, 1973-1984

Guide about Count Basie with biography, annotated listing of recordings, videos, readings, interviews, oral histories, and websites.

Pablo Records, 1973-1984

All recordings produced by Norman Granz

Jazz at the Santa Monica Civic '72
Pablo 2625-701 (LP)
This concert on June 2, 1972 headlining Basie and Ella Fitzgerald signaled Norman Granz’s return to recording. And for good reason. Sparks flew when he turned the occasion into a reprise of his internationally famous Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts. Surprise guests included Oscar Peterson (p), Ray Brown (b), Stan Getz (ts), Roy Eldridge (tp), Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis (ts), Al Grey (tb) and Harry “Sweets” Edison (tp). Ella’s stunning finale on C-Jam Blues, in which she engages with all the guest soloists, makes this an all-around great record!

Basie Jam
Pablo, 1973; PACD-2310-718 (LP and CD); Original Jazz Classics OJC 631
Basie, piano and organ, with Harry “Sweets” Edison (tp), J.J. Johnson (tb), Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis (ts), Zoot Sims (ts), Irving Ashby (g), Ray Brown (b), and Louie Bellson (d)
This is the rollout of the series of small group recordings with Basie sidling away from the band to mix it up in the studio with old friends and admirers.

The Bosses
Pablo, 1973; Pablo 2310-709 (LP); Original Jazz Classics, OJCCD-821, 1994 (CD)
Same personnel as above the following day with blues singer Joe Turner on vocals.

For the First Time: The Count Basie Trio
Pablo, 1974; Pablo 2310-712 (LP); Pablo 2310-712 (CD)

For the Second Time: The Kansas City 3
Pablo, 1983; Original Jazz Classics 600 (LP); Original Jazz Classics, OJC 600 (CD)
Basie joined Ray Brown (b) and Louie Bellson (d) for the debut recording by the group, followed by a rematch nine years later.

Recordings with Oscar Peterson

Satch and Josh
Pablo, 1974; Pablo 2310-722 (LP); Original Jazz Classics OJC 959

Satch and Josh . . . Again
Pablo, 1977; Pablo 2310-802 (LP); Original Jazz Classics 960 (CD)

The Timekeepers
Pablo, 1978; Pablo 2310-896; Original Jazz Classics OJC 790 (CD)

Night Rider
Pablo, 1980; Pablo 2310-843 (LP); Original Jazz Classics OJC 688 (CD)
This pairing of Basie and Oscar Peterson demonstrates the pleasing interaction between Basie’s minimalism and Peterson’s restrained but still fulsome technique.

Basie & Zoot
Pablo, 1974; Pablo 2310-745; Original Jazz Classics OJC 822
This Grammy Award-winning 1975 encounter between two solid and subtle swingers backed by Louie Bellson (d) and John Heard (b) is a treasure among the voluminous individual Basie and Sims Pablo recordings.

Count Basie Jam Session at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1975
Pablo, 1975; Pablo 2310-750 (LP); PACD 2310 750 CD)
Basie swings with Roy Eldridge (tp), Johnny Griffin (ts), Milt Jackson (vib), and Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson (b). Again, Basie surprises with a mix of brilliant musicians from across decades of jazz history.

Basie Jam #2 and Basie Jam #3
Pablo, 1976
#2, Pablo 2310-786 (LP); Original Jazz Classics OJC-631 (CD)
#3, Pablo 2310-840 (LP); Original Jazz Classics OJC 687 (CD)
Basie is joined by Louie Bellson (d), Al Grey (tb), Joe Pass (el-g), John Heard (b), Benny Carter (as), Clark Terry (tp) and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis (ts) for this May 1976 studio jam that yielded two hot albums.

Edison’s Lights
Pablo, 1976; Pablo 2310-780 (LP); Original Jazz Classics OJC-804 (CD)
Basie appears as sideman on this album featuring Basie veterans Harry Edison (t) and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis (ts) and John Heard (b), and Jimmie Smith (d)

Prime Time
Pablo, 1977; Pablo 2310-797 (LP); Pablo 2310-797 (CD)
Prime Time, featuring eight new arrangements by Sammy Nestico, yielded the second of five Grammy Awards Basie would receive for his Pablo work.

Kansas City 5
Pablo, 1977; 2312-126 (LP); Original Jazz Classics OJC 888 (CD)
Basie anchors session with vibraphonist and Modern Jazz Quartet member Milt Jackson (vib), Joe Pass el-g), John Heard (b) and Louie Bellson (d).

Pablo Records, continued

The Gifted Ones
Pablo, 1977; Pablo 2310-833 (LP); Original Jazz Classics OJC 886 (CD)
With Dizzy Gillespie (tp), Ray Brown (b) and Mickey Roker (d).
Key figures from the swing and bop eras show that the distance between them musically is not all that far apart.

Basie Jam: Montreux '77
Pablo, 1977; Pablo 2308-209 (LP); Original Jazz Classics OJC 379 (CD)
One in a series of Granz albums from the 1977 Montreux Jazz Festival places Basie in a rhythm section with drummer Jimmie Smith and bassist Ray Brown, plus soloists Roy Eldridge (tp), Vic Dickenson (tb), Al Grey (tb), Benny Carter (as) and Zoot Sims (ts)

Milt Jackson + Count Basie + The Big Band, Vols. 1 and 2
Pablo, 1978 Volume 1, Pablo 2310-822 (LP); Pablo 20023, Original Jazz Classics OJC 740 (CDs)
Volume 2, Pablo 2310-823 (LP); Original Jazz Classics OJC 741 (CD
Milt Jackson (vib) blends his cool conception of the blues with the heat of one of the most driving blues machines in the history of jazz in these collaborations from January 1978.

A Classy Pair: Ella Fitzgerald Sings, Count Basie Plays with the Count Basie Orchestra
Arranged and conducted by Benny Carter, 1979 Pablo Today, Pablo Today 2312-132 (LP); Pablo 2312-132, Pablo 20057 (CDs)
The Benny Carter arrangements for this album of standards are among the collections at the Institute of Jazz Studies.

On the Road
Pablo, 1980; Pablo 2312-112 (LP); Original Jazz Classics, OJC 854 (CD)
This Grammy Award-winning album from the 1979 Montreux Jazz Festival captures a highly-charged performance.

A Perfect Match
Pablo, 1979, Pablo 2312-110 (LP)
The Basie band appears with Ella Fitzgerald from the same night captures what Fitzgerald and Basie were doing on tour during these years.

Count Basie Get Together: Count Basie’s Kansas City 8
Pablo, 1979; Pablo 2310-924 (LP); Pablo 2310-924 (CD)
Basie with Clark Terry, Harry Edison, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Budd Johnson, Freddie Green, John Clayton, Gus Johnson in a session notable for the appearance of several alums of the Basie band.

Kansas City Shout: Count Basie/Joe Turner/Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson
Pablo, 1980; Pablo 2310-859 (LP); Pablo 2310-859 (CD)
Count Basie returns to his roots with blues vocalists Turner and Vinson.

Kansas City 7
Pablo, 1980; Pablo 2310-859 (LP); Original Jazz Classics OJC 690 (CD)
With Dizzy Gillespie (tp), Ray Brown (b) and Mickey Roker (d).
This recording featuring Freddie Hubbard (tp), J.J. Johnson (tb), Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis (ts), Joe Pass (el-g), John Heard (b), and Jake Hanna (d) is a good example of how musicians can get down to business and cut a record in an afternoon.

Warm Breeze
Pablo, 1981; Pablo 2312-131 (LP); Original Jazz Classics CD 994 (CD)
Featuring Sammy Nestico compositions and arrangements and trumpeters Harry Edison and Willie Cook, the Basie band walked away with a third Grammy.

Kansas City 6
Pablo, 1981; Pablo 2310-871 (LP); Original Jazz Classics OJC 449 (CD)
Basie with Willie Cook (tp), Joe Pass (el-g), Niels-Henning Orsted Pederson (b) and Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson (voc).

Send in the Clowns: Sarah Vaughan and the Count Basie Orchestra
Pablo, 1981; Pablo 2312-130 (LP); Pablo 2312-130 (CD)
Vaughan, who started out as a big band singer in the 1940s, substitutes her rhythm section at the time—pianist George Gaffney, bassist Andy Simpkins and drummer Harold Jones (while keeping Basie’s rhythm guitarist Freddie Green) and, of course, the band.

88 Basie Street
Pablo, 1983; Pablo 2310-901 (LP); Pablo 2310-901, Original Jazz Classics OJC 808 (CDs)
One of Basie’s last recordings, recorded in May 1983, this CD benefited from two small-group encounters with guitarist Joe Pass and Basie tenor saxophonist Kenny Hing to earn Basie his fifth Grammy Award on the label.

Mostly Blues and Some Others
Pablo, 1983; Pablo 2310-919 (LP); Pablo 2310-919 (CD)
Basie with Snooky Young (tp), Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis (ts), Joe Pass (el-g), Freddie Green (g), John Heard (b), and Roy McCurdy (d).

Fancy Pants
Pablo, 1983; Original Jazz Classics 1038 (CD)
The historical value of this album comes less from the music that the fact that recordings from December 1983, the orchestra recorded for the last time with Basie as leader.

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