Count Basie: Kilimanjaro




Count Basie Orchestra


Afrique (Decca 4548)

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Count Basie (piano), Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis (tenor sax), Cecil Payne (baritone sax, flute), Hubert Laws (flute), Freddie Green (guitar),

Paul Cohen, Sonny Cohn, George “Pete” Minger, Waymon Reed (trumpet, flugelhorn); Steve Galloway, Melvin Wanzo, John Watson (brombone); Bill Hughes (bass trombone), Bill Adkins (alto sax), Bobby Plater (alto sax, flute), Eric Dixon (tenor sax, flute), John B. Williams (electric bass), Harold Jones (drums), Buddy Lucas (harmonica)


Composed and arranged by Oliver Nelson


Recorded: New York, December 22, 1970


Rating: 85/100 (learn more)

In the early '70s, big bands were not so fashionable. During the mid-'60s, Count Basie even ventured far from his usual repertoire to cover Beatles songs! Here, with the help of new compositions by Oliver Nelson, the Count gives his band an invigorating youth potion, based on a supposedly African recipe. On this track, few of the traditional Basie orchestra ingredients are present, except for the sparse soloing by the Count himself and the lush horns and reeds. Nelson sketches an imaginary landscape with electric bass, percussion, and Hubert Laws’ dreamy flute, journeying from “Afrique” to “Japan” and including a tune by Albert Ayler. A most unusual and exotic Count Basie record, well worth checking out, even if it’s not one of his historically major ones.

Reviewer: Thierry Quénum


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