Count Basie: Taxi War Dance

Track

Taxi War Dance

Group

Count Basie & His Orchestra

CD

Classic Columbia, Okeh & Vocalion [Sessions] (Mosaic 239)

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Musicians:

Count Basie (piano),

Buck Clayton, Shad Collins, Harry Edison, Ed Lewis (trumpets), Dan Minor, Benny Morton, Dicky Wells (trombones), Earle Warren, Buddy Tate, Lester Young, Jack Washington (reeds), Freddie Green (guitar), Walter Page (bass), Jo Jones (drums)

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Composed by Count Basie & Lester Young

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Recorded: New York, March 19, 1939

Lester_young_mosaic

Rating: 100/100 (learn more)

Perhaps his finest moment on record, Young is probably also (mostly) responsible for “Taxi War Dance’s” very simple head arrangement, though he only gets half the composer credit. The first of his solos is particularly ingenious: It begins sounding like a cohesive and hyper-lyrical 12-bar blues, but soon reveals itself to be “Willow Weep for Me” changes. Throughout this and his later solos (trading fours with the full band and Basie), he remains light as a feather—yet he continuously reaches outward with his phrasing and harmonies, and upward with his range until it’s genuinely hard to remember that Young isn’t an alto player. Sandwiched in is a superlative solo by trombonist Dickie Wells that nearly equals Young for lyricism; it feels like an aside, however, in what is clearly Prez’s show.

Reviewer: Michael J. West

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