Count Basie and his musicians taught us so much by their example.
Swing is at the heart of everything. Jazz is music for dancers, and it has to have an intense but light rhythmic impulse, an irresistible flowing motion. The blues are essential. Simplicity is key even to the most elaborate improvisations. Fewer notes have greater effect. You can improvise on I GOT RHYTHM until the end of time. Music, like its players and singers, has to have a living, breathing pulse.
(The grammarians in my audience will note I am using the present tense, intentionally. Basie’s truths are still truths.)
The superb reedman / composer / arranger Matthias Seuffert put together a small band for the 2012 Whitley Bay Jazz Party and offered us his evocative originals in the style of / paying tribute to the great figures of jazz — Bix, Louis, Duke, Benny, Hawkins, and a few others: click here to enjoy these brilliant tributes.
I saved his homage to Basie, BACKBONE BASIE, for last — accomplished with the inestimable aid of Martin Litton, piano; Martin Wheatley, guitar; Manu Hagmann, string bass; Josh Duffee, drums; Matthias and Jean-Francois Bonnel, reeds; Kristoffer Kompen, trombone; Enrico Tomasso, trumpet:
Thank you, Matthias and friends, and thank you, Mike Durham. As always!
May your happiness increase!