Count Basie ‘In London’ (Poll Winners Records) 4/5

The evocative cover with Basie surrounded on either side by Cockney pearly kings in splendid regalia is somewhat misleading; the original album was actually recorded in Sweden with two concerts in Gothenburg from September 1956.This is neatly coupled with the fine bonus of a radio broadcast from New York from two months later with a virtually identical line-up of the full Basie orchestra that includes Frank Foster on reeds, Freddie Green on guitar, Thad Jones on trumpet and Joe Williams on vocals. The latter excels on ‘Alright, okay, you win’ while the band swing effortlessly through a carefully selected set of largely Basie band composed classics such as ‘Shiny stockings’, ‘One o’clock jump’ and ‘Jumpin’ at the woodside’ along the odd standard. Three numbers are reprised on the radio concert with ‘Basie land’ and ‘Cherry point’ new additions. Extended new notes as well as the original comments and handily Gramophone and Down Beat reviews rightfully place the recording in its proper historical context.

Tim Stenhouse