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Count Basie Orchestra: Live at MCG

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This 1996 date marks the onset of yet another edition of the Basie band, this one under the alert ear of conductor/trombonist Grover Mitchell. Though the cast keeps changing, the band still connects to its Kansas City roots. In goldies like Neil Hefti’s swirling “Whirly Bird” and Frank Foster’s palpitating “Down for the Count,” the Basie pulse, at once driving and swingingly sublime, throbs with a bluesy beat. The band’s takes on Ellington classics “Cottontail” and “In a Mellow Tone” also groove.

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