Count Basie: Tickle Toe – as heard in Woody Allen's Stardust Memories (1980)


Tickle Toe


Count Basie (piano)


The Lester Young Story (Proper Box 8)

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Count Basie (piano),

15-piece band featuring Buck Clayton (trumpet), Lester Young (tenor sax), Count Basie (piano), Jo Jones (drums)


Recorded: New York, March 19, 1940


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

Lester Young grew up in a carnival, where he played in his dad's band and learned from the geeks it was okay to be different. Coming of age, Lester departed from the tenor sax's prevailing masculinity. With his lighter, cooler tone, he hovered angelically above the Swing Era's insistent rhythms with gliding, melodious solos that left him and his listeners poised, observes musicologist Scott DeVeaux, “to savor the pleasant ambiguities of the moment.” This track—half corny big-band clichés, half serpentine forays anticipating bop—is a fascinating glimpse of 1930s jazz dipping a toe in the ticklish uncertainties of modernism.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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