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Reviews: Basie is Back - Count Basie Orchestra

Reviews: 5

Review by Jfitch August 4, 2006 (2 of 7 found this review helpful)
I just ordered this disc so I have not had a chance to experience it firsthand. Below is a review from "highfidelityreview.com".

Basie Is Back features 13 jazz classics that have been performed by the Count Basie Orchestra over the years. The album was recorded live at Denryoku Hall in Sendai, Japan on October 28, 2005. It is a Direct Stream Digital (DSD) recording using Sony's Sonoma DSD Workstation.

Basie Is Back was produced by Eighty-Eight's label chief Yasohachi "88" Itoh, recorded and engineered by Yoshihiro Suzuki from Sony Music Studios in Tokyo, assisted by engineers Naoto Tanemura, Hiroya Takayama, Masaki Mori and Hiroki Okida as well as Sonoma DSD Workstation Operator Shigeru Inoue from Sony Japan. The SACD was mastered by Koji "C-chan" Suzuki of Sony Music Studios in Tokyo who has handled the mastering of many Japanese SACD titles over the years. The SACD was made by Sony DADC's hybrid SACD production line in Japan.

Listening to the Surround Sound Super Audio tracks of the album, I'd say that Woodward's comments about the new album being "dynamic" are an understatement. Basie Is Back fills your music room with the swinging sounds of the orchestra as they take you through the history of the band. The disc really shows off the Super Audio CD format's ability to highlight individual instruments and soloists at one point and then really take off and swing at another moment. Big Band music fans will enjoy this new recording. No doubt about that.


Text written 25/06/06 by Brian Moura (HFR).

I recommend taking the above for what it's worth. It's better then no information at all!

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Review by audiofreak September 15, 2006 (5 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
As mentioned above the recording is very dynamic. The multichannel mix does as usual sound better than the stereo mix, but I have noticed that the orchestra is actually mixed in stereo while soloists are placed alone in the centre channel. Somehow this causes the centre channel not to blend in perfectly with front-R/L. I believe this approach to multichannel mixing could be due the mixing equipment being two-channel only. I am sure that Mr. Yasohachi "88" Itoh can do his multichannel mix correctly next time.

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Review by stef40 May 21, 2008 (0 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
If you like Count basie,music from big band,and great live recording sound,go for this one.

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Review by gonzostick July 19, 2009 (3 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
The sound is great and that is the only good thing to say about this turkey.

The singer with this band is one of the worst big band singers I have EVER heard. She takes "Body and Soul" and turns it into a pitch salad of notes that are simply tasteless! Also, she tries to sing high notes that are almost always flat, when she pushes her voice, trying to be hyperdramatic. Worse still, her improvisation talents are not a talent, at all.

The band's playing, though fast, has NO real swing and soul. These charts have been played by this band for so many years, they are lifeless. The classic fast tunes are played so fast by these hyperproficient musicians, that they miss the music and the backbeat swing of this music. What a waste! I guess someone has a zombie version of swing now. This is animated, but dead in life.

The band's new pianist makes the mistake Count Basie worked SO hard to avoid: TOO MANY NOTES. Every time he goes for a solo, he goes bananas trying to show how much he can play. That is wrong on so many levels, if this is REALLY a Count Basie Orchestra, and the pianist should know better. Either this band is true to its tradition, or it is just another stage band, just going through the motions.

One warning: My copy of the disc would not play the final cut, April In Paris. It refused to track on my Pioneer universal disc player. I got this from an import dealer.

The best Basie in High-Res Surround is am old Denon DVD-Audio disc that may still be available used. The performances on that one are excellent, and there is no goofy, squaky singer.

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Review by lenw April 21, 2011 (3 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I've put off this review for quite some time having purchased this SACD quite some time ago. I was expecting something much more from this album with big band era tracks like "Jumpin' at the Woodside" and "One O'Clock Jump". But after listening numerous times to this disc I'm disappointed both musically and soncially. "One O'Clock Jump" is nowhere close emotionally to my memory of the Benny Goodman version, and to make matters worse was used as background by Bill Hughes to close out the set. The Melba Joyce vocals "Body and Soul" and "Lover Come Back to Me" lacked emotion and were just loud. The band sounded like it was recorded in a large space, but the trumpets were too dominant much of the time, and much of the instrument inter-play lost. Generally the entire album was either miked too close or recorded too loudly to reproduce really good micro dynamics. A real disappointment!

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