Count Basie: Half Moon Street
Half Moon Street
Count Basie (piano)
Chairman of the Board (Roulette 81664)
Snooky Young, Wendell Cully, Joe Newman (trumpets), Henry Coker (trombone), Benny Powell (bass trombone), Marshall Royal, Frank Wess (alto saxes), Frank Foster, Billy Mitchell (tenor saxes), Charles Fowlkes (baritone sax), Freddie Green (guitar), Eddie Jones (bass).
Composed & arranged by Frank Wess.
Recorded: New York, April 28, 1958
Rating: 94/100 (learn more)
The concept behind this album was to feature original pieces by several current members (as of 1958) and one former member of the Basie band. Thus the music includes three charts by Frank Foster, four by Thad Jones, three by Ernie Wilkins, and two by Frank Wess. Of these four giants, Frank Wess is undoubtedly the least known as a composer-arranger, though he is universally recognized as a great tenor saxophonist and flutist and less so as a splendid altoist. This chart, and Frank's other contribution, the blues "Segue in C," are both living, breathing definitions of soul, honesty, and swing. Thad Jones and Al Grey turn in characteristic solos and Sonny Payne drives the band with a confident intensity, but Frank Wess's simple, powerful writing is the real star here. This is New Testament Basie at its finest.
Reviewer: Kenny Berger