Count Basie (featuring Lester Young): Oh, Lady Be Good
Oh, Lady Be Good
Jones-Smith Incorporated (Count Basie)
The Essential Count Basie, Vol. 1 (Sony Jazz 4600612)
Carl Smith (trumpet).
Composed by George & Ira Gershwin.
Recorded: Chicago, November 9, 1936
Rating: 96/100 (learn more)
Swing Era rhythm sections specialized in a monotonous thumping not unlike men with flyswatters beating determinedly on stacks of old newspapers. In this case, however, fortune intervened. First, the studio was too small to accommodate a bass drum. Second, no rhythm guitarist was present. These absences make the jazz lover's heart grow fonder, allowing for an uncommon buoyancy ideally suited to Lester Young's lighter-than-air excursions. Thus, after Basie tinkles his way through the melody, Pres glides atop the Gershwin tune for two glorious, untethered choruses, as effortlessly graceful as an eagle out for a Sunday cruise. Oh, Lester be good!
Reviewer: Alan Kurtz