Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Count Basie: Live at the Sands

The Reprise CD consists of excerpts from Basie’s opening sets at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas in 1966. As a prelude to Frank Sinatra’s “main event,” these sets had to be delivered with maximum brilliance and impact. The strong personnCount Basie el at the time, including Sonny Payne on drums and Lockjaw Davis and Al Grey as main soloists, could ensure this, as the warm audience response indicates. And most of that audience, in all probability, was there primarily to hear the singer from Hoboken.

In those days there was much criticism of Sonny Payne’s showmanship, but this was more off-putting visually than aurally. Here, for the most part, he provides a strong, lifting pulse that doesn’t appear to conflict with that of the rhythm section’s other three members. Lockjaw Davis contributes energetically and imaginatively, while Al Grey’s plungered interludes on “Makin’ Whoopee” and “I Needs to Be Beed With” provide a change of pace and mood.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published