Count Basie: Speaking of Sounds


Speaking of Sounds


Count Basie (piano)


Chairman of the Board (Blue Note)

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Count Basie (piano), Thad Jones (trumpet), Eddie Jones (bass), Freddie Green (shaker),

Snooky Young, Wendell Cully, Joe Newman (trumpets), Henry Coker, Al Grey (trombones), Benny Powell (bass trombone), Marshall Royal, Frank Foster (clarinets), Frank Wess (flute), Billy Mitchell (tenor sax), Charles Fowlkes (bass clarinet), Sonny Payne (drums)


Composed by Thad Jones


Recorded: New York, December 10, 1958


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

One of four fine Thad Jones originals from an album in which all the material was written by current or former Basie band members, "Speaking of Sounds" is a little-known example of New Testament Basie with a few interesting twists. Several of Basie's arrangers at the time, most notably Quincy Jones, made imaginative use of flutes, usually in combination with a muted trumpet or two, but here we have Thad Jones employing an uncharacteristic (for Basie) woodwind section sound.

The theme is stated by brass in hats with answering phrases by the reeds. The next half chorus features a written duet for Thad and Eddie Jones in which both melody and backgrounds contain a combination of angularity and swing that was unique to Thad's writing. Thad follows with a solo that grows out of the written duet like a healthy plant. Another unusual touch is provided by Freddie Green's use of a tubular shaker instead of his venerable rhythm guitar. This is not a minor detail, given the integral role Green's guitar played in shaping the Basie sound. The shaker fits the groove here, and Green used it on other pieces such as Quincy Jones's "Jessica's Day." As Thad's writing grew less Basie-ish, The Count allowed him to take a bunch of his last charts for the band with him when he left. These "Basie rejects," as Thad called them, became the cornerstones of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Band's library.

Reviewer: Kenny Berger

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