Back To The Apple – 1959

Count Basie

An exciting number by one of Basie’s best bands

In the late 1950s, Count Basie led one of his finest orchestras.

During an era when the number of big bands was much smaller than the number that were active a decade earlier, Basie’s swinging machine was flourishing.

In addition to his trademark rhythm section which included his piano, rhythm guitarist Freddie Green, various bassists and drummer Sonny Payne, Basie featured major soloists in trumpeters Joe Newman and Thad Jones, and tenors Frank Foster and Frank Wess (who doubled on flute).

However it was the tight and flawless ensembles (plus Payne’s driving drums) that really gave this edition of the Count Basie Orchestra its power and identity.

On Nov. 22, 1959, the Basie band appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, performing an uptempo blues (“Back To The Apple”) with solos by Foster and Newman, climaxing in ensembles that build in excitement during each chorus.

-Scott Yanow