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Count Basie: The 1950 Octet And Combo

We'll hear collaborations with former Basie big-band singers Billie Holiday and Helen Humes, as well as a live version of some bop anthems.

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In January of 1950, beleagured by the business woes that had afflicted so many other big bands around this time, Count Basie broke up the orchestra that he had been leading for 14 years. The small group that he formed in its wake featured younger, bop-oriented musicians such as tenor saxophonist Wardell Grey, baritone saxophonist Serge Chaloff, and clarinetist Buddy DeFranco.

The band, which ranged in size from a sextet to an octet during its existence, recorded a handful of sides for Victor and Columbia and was also captured on airchecks.

We’ll hear collaborations with former Basie big-band singers Billie Holiday and Helen Humes, as well as a live version of the bop anthems “How High the Moon” and “Ornithology,” and some early writing contributions from Neal Hefti, who would play an important role in Basie’s “New Testament” big band later on in the 1950s.

Watch the Count Basie Octet in performance, with Clark Terry, Buddy Defranco, and Wardell Gray.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WpPehptG3yw

Music Heard On This Episode

Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folways, 1964)
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Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folways, 1964)

Notes: Opening theme.

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Rat Race
Count Basie Octet — The Octet Sounds (Ocium, 1950)
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If You See My Baby
Count Basie Octet — The Octet Sounds (Ocium, 1950)

Notes: Vocalist: Google Eyes

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Neal's Deal
Count Basie Octet — America's #1 Band (Columbia/Legacy, 1950)

Notes: Written by Neal Hefti.

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You're My Baby, You
Count Basie Octet — America's #1 Band (Columbia/Legacy, 1950)
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Song of the Islands
Count Basie Octet — America's #1 Band (Columbia/Legacy, 1950)
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These Foolish Things
Count Basie Octet — America's #1 Band (Columbia/Legacy, 1950)
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God Bless the Child
Count Basie Combo — On Film and Live (Saga, 1950)

Notes: Billie Holiday on vocals.

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Now, Baby, or Never
Count Basie Combo — On Film & Live (Saga, 1950)

Notes: Billie Holiday on vocals.

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If I Could Be With You
Count Basie Combo — On Film & Live (Saga, 1950)

Notes: Helen Humes on vocals.

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Move
Count Basie Combo — On Film & Live (Saga, 1951)

Notes: Break music.

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How High the Moon/Ornithology
Count Basie Combo — On Film & Live (Saga, 1951)
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Bluebeard Blues
Count Basie Combo — On Film & Live (Saga, 1951)
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Tootie
Count Basie Octet — America's #1 Band (Columbia/Legacy, 1950)
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I'm Confessin'
Count Basie Octet — America's #1 Band (Columbia/Legacy, 1950)
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Little White Lies
Count Basie Octet — America's #1 Band (Columbia/Legacy, 1950)
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One O'Clock Jump
Count Basie Octet — America's #1 Band (Columbia/Legacy, 1950)
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Night Lights
Gerry Mulligan — Night Lights (Polygram, 1963)

Notes: Closing theme.

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David Brent Johnson

Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, David Brent Johnson moved to Bloomington in 1991. He is an alumnus of Indiana University, and began working with WFIU in 2002. Currently, David serves as jazz producer and systems coordinator at the station. His interests include literature, history, music, writing, and movies.

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