Some of Count Basie's finest recordings were cut for the Roulette label during 1957-1962, and all of his studio performances are included on this massive Mosaic ten-CD boxed set. Among the classic former LPs that are reissued here are The Atomic Mr. Basie, Basie Plays Hefti, Chairman of the Board, Everyday I Have the Blues, and Kansas City Suite. With such soloists as trumpeters Thad Jones and Joe Newman, the tenors of Frank Foster and Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Frank Wess on alto and flute, vocals by Joe Williams, and the timeless arrangements of Neal Hefti, Thad Jones, Frank Foster, Ernie Wilkins, and Frank Wess among others, this essential (but unfortunately limited-edition) set features the second Count Basie Orchestra at its very best.
I found this LP in delicious mono in EX- condish, so here we go.
Surprisingly enough this 1963 LP was the first time (other than a couple songs) that Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie recorded together. (The match-up was so logical that it would be repeated many times over the next 20 years.) Fitzgerald sounds fine and, even if Quincy Jones' arrangements did not give the Basie musicians as much space for solos - although two songs do feature a bit of trumpeter Joe Newman, trombonist Urbie Green and Frank Foster on tenor - this is an enjoyable effort. High points include "Honeysuckle Rose," "Them There Eyes" and "Shiny Stockings."
It was originally issued as "Ella & Basie!" and reissued later with slightly different cover art as "On the Sunny Side of the Street".
Nine tracks of the Basie band in its prime playing music composed and arranged by Quincy Jones - that should be enough to tell you this is a superb album. All nine of the originals are virtually forgotten today but are very well-played by this veteran band. Although Frank Foster was still in the band, Eric Dixon (on tenor and flute) was starting to assert himself as a major solo voice while trumpeter Snooky Young has a few strong spots.