Count Basie All-Stars: I Left My Baby (1957)


I Left My Baby


Count Basie All-Stars


The Sound of Jazz (Columbia CK 45234)

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Jimmy Rushing (vocals), Count Basie (piano), Emmett Berry (trumpet), Roy Eldridge (trumpet), Dicky Wells (trombone), Vic Dickenson (trombone), Lester Young (tenor sax), Coleman Hawkins (tenor sax), Jo Jones (drums),

Doc Cheatham, Joe Newman (trumpets), Frank Rehak (trombone), Earl Warren (alto sax), Harry Carney (baritone sax), Freddie Green (guitar), Eddie Jones (bass)


Composed by Count Basie, Andy Gibson & Jimmy Rushing. Arranged by Nat Pierce


Recorded: New York, December 4, 1957


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

James Andrew Rushing, born in Oklahoma City in 1903, first recorded "I Left My Baby" in 1939 under the aegis of William James Basie, with whom Mr. Rushing had secured gainful employment four years earlier, and in whose employ he would remain until 1950. This fully polished 1957 rehearsal for CBS-TV's all-star special The Sound of Jazz reunited seven vets of the 1939 session: Rushing, Basie, saxophonists Earl Warren and Lester Young, trombonist Dicky Wells, rhythm guitarist extraordinaire Freddie Green, and drummer Jo Jones. The band was then filled out by relative nonentities: Roy Eldridge, Coleman Hawkins, Harry Carney, et al. (What a crew!)

Rushing gets things off to an unrushed, bluesy start with his inimitable delivery—sort of like an everyman with perfect diction and a heart that's been broken more times than a gentleman cares to enumerate. Behind him, Lester Young's haunting obbligatos raise goose bumps. After Boss Basie briefly applies one of his patented minimalist solos, Hawk's muscular flexing provides brawny contrast to Pres's earlier feather dusting. Finally comes Dicky Wells, who plays like he's blowing into one. All told, a classic, expertly recorded 1950s performance by some of the giants of that or any other period in jazz.

Mr. Rushing was the prototype for later, more popular singers Joe Williams and Lou Rawls. But there was only one James Andrew Rushing.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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