Conducted by Thad Jones

Count Basie Orchestra


“Thad Jones leads the Basie band for an 80-minute set in 1985”

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Count Basie passed away on Apr. 26, 1984 after 49 years of leading his influential and always swinging orchestra.

Following a period of indecision, Thad Jones became the first post-Basie “permanent” leader of the orchestra in Feb. 1985.

Unfortunately Jones’ declining health (he passed away from cancer on Aug. 20, 1986) resulted in him only leading the Basie band for a year, a period when the orchestra made no commercial recordings.

Luckily, this 80-minute telecast, performed live in Tokyo in 1985, preserves Thad Jones’ period at the head of the still-mighty Basie orchestra.

While Jones, like his successors, had to work and write within a limited framework that preserved the Basie sound, some of his arrangements hint at an extension on the music that, due to his passing, would never really occur.

This lively performance has the band playing a full instrumental set (The Heat’s On/And That’s That/Way Out Basie/A Night In Tunisia/Wind Machine/Moonlight Becomes You/ Jumpin’ At The Woodside), accompanying Nancy Wilson (Satin Doll/Since I Fell For You/Stormy Weather/I’m Beginning To See The Light) and, after “Corner Pocket,” backing Joe Williams (I’ve Got A Mind To Ramble/Young And Foolish/In The Evening/Hallelujah, I Love Her So) and both singers together (Alright, OK, You Win).

While there had been some personnel changes, most notably the addition of trumpeter Johnny Coles and Tee Carson succeeding Basie, the orchestra’s sound and style was very much intact.

The valuable, enjoyable and lengthy program, which concludes with “One O’Clock Jump” and “April In Paris,” shows that the Basie band was still a powerhouse even after the leader’s passing.


Thad Jones, leader
Byron Stripling, trumpet
Bob Ojeda, trumpet
Sonny Cohn, trumpet
Johnny Coles, trumpet
Clarence Banks, trombone
Dennis Wilson, trombone
Mal Wanzo, trombone
Bill Hughes, bass trombone
Danny Turner, alto
Danny House, alto
Eric Dixon, tenor
Kenny Hing, tenor
Johnny Williams, baritone
Tee Carson, piano
Freddie Green, guitar
Lyn Seaton, bass
Dennis Mackrel, drums

-Scott Yanow


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