Bennie Moten: Moten Swing
Bennie Moten and his Kansas City Orchestra
Band Box Shuffle (Hep 1070-2)
Joe Keys, Dee Stewart (trumpet); Dan Minor (trombone), Jack Washington (alto sax, baritone sax), Leroy Berry (guitar); Willie McWashington (drums).
Composed by Buster Moten and Bennie Moten.
Recorded: Camden, New Jersey, December 13, 1932
Rating: 100/100 (learn more)
It is difficult to believe that this recording was made on the cusp of 1933. Basie’s later spare style (complete with Page’s driving bass) is easily recognized and the recording quality is sensational – crisp, clear, even McWashington’s brushes are quite audible. The bridge of the first chorus, cleverly truncated, features spine-tingling, shouting brass played into metal derbies and sounding like they are in the room with the listener. The arrangement cleverly builds with the saxophones first sketching out Walter Donaldson’s hit “You’re Driving Me Crazy” (the chords of which form the basis here) before essaying the famous riff (with Barefiled’s obbligato) known by many as a swing era anthem. A sudden key change introduces Hot Lips Page who solos in a coolish un-Armstrong manner. Finally the full compact ensemble plays the familiar riff melody, bridge and all. Notice Basie doubling his left hand on the studio celeste which, along with Page’s beautifully registered bass, brings to a close a record that has it all.
Reviewer: David Sager
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