Monday, September 17, 2018
Album Review: The Count Basie Orchestra- All About That Basie
All About That Basie is precisely the sort of album the Count Basie Orchestra needed to release in 2018. By blending a few impressive guest features with tracks that remain true to the institution’s tradition of powerhouse swing, the star-studded album allows the band whose leader died in 1984 to stave off cultural irrelevance.
In harkening back to Frank Sinatra’s popular collaboration with the Count Basie Orchestra, Kurt Elling’s suave vocal makes “Don’t Worry ‘Bout Me” the album’s standout track. Stevie Wonder adds his distinctive harmonica to a robust instrumental version of “My Cherie Amour.” Joey DeFrancesco’s greasy organ on a remake of “April in Paris” is delectable.
The project contains a few misfires. Two tracks are particularly egregious. The vocal group Take 6 piles thick layers of gooey cheese on “Every Day I Have the Blues.” And it’s disappointing that no one told the Basie crew that there’s an unofficial moratorium on covers of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” the most played-out song of the new millennium.
Even so, the good on All About That Basie easily outweighs the bad. And while guitarist Will Matthews is the only member of the band who still resides in Kansas City, the Count Basie Orchestra continues to make Kansas City proud.
(Original image by Plastic Sax.)