Count Basie - Live at the Sands 1966 (Before Frank) (1998) MFSL Remastered 2013, Audio CD Layer [Re-Up]

Posted By: Designol
Count Basie - Live at the Sands 1966 (Before Frank) (1998) MFSL Remastered 2013, Audio CD Layer [Re-Up]

Count Basie - Live at the Sands (Before Frank) (1998) [MFSL Remastered 2013]
EAC | FLAC | Tracks (Cue&Log) ~ 323 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 135 Mb | Scans included
Jazz, Big Band, Swing | Label: Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab | # UDSACD 2113 | 00:53:03

Count Basie and Frank Sinatra had the perfect arrangement at the Sands. Before the Chairman hit the stage in Vegas, Count Basie and his big band warmed up the already enthusiastic crowd with a brief set of their own. A dynamite entertainer, the legendary leader causes hearts to race, hips to shake, and fingers to snap with high-energy readings of his trademark swing music, taken to feverish heights by both his first-rate orchestra and the incredibly swank setting. Fortunately, the finest of Basie and Co.’s introductory performances from the historic 1966 dates have been preserved here and serve as a seminal complement to Sinatra’s iconic Live at the Sands.

Mastered from the original master tapes, our hybrid SACD version of Live at the Sands (Before Frank) gives you a dead-center, eighth-row seat at the famed Sin City club. You’ll just need to supply your own table and cocktail. Renowned for its sonic clarity, transparency, crispness, and punch, the record is now tremendously enhanced, with improved tonality, a deeper soundstage, correct balances, and lifelike presence. Each horn occupies its own space, and Basie’s transfixing piano—a focal point throughout—resonates with gorgeous detail and impeccable pacing. The collective’s energy almost demands to be measured with an SPL meter.

Captured in late January and early February 1966, Live at the Sands (Before Frank) contains most of Basie’s signature pieces delivered with an enthusiasm, style, and brassiness that exceed that gracing nearly any of the Count’s studio efforts. His band is stacked to the nines, with tenor saxophonist Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, saxophonist/flautist Eric Dixon, and drummer “Sonny” Payne among the prized cast. The Sands dates marked the first time in years that these players, as well as trombonist Al Grey, gathered onstage together.

Encouraged by Basie, the instrumentalists engage in a series of call-and-response passages and standout solos, not the least of which is Davis’ turn on a white-hot “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” and he and Dixon’s exchanges on “This Could Be the Start of Something Big.” No slouch, Basie approaches “Makin’ Whoopee” with graceful playfulness, and oversees the assortment of uptempo swing numbers and mellow ballads with astute melodicism. A sublime version of the Don Gibson country standard “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” arranged by Quincy Jones, can almost be considered a bonus.

No, it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing. And Basie and his mates have plenty of it on this superb outing. Big-band jazz seldom enjoyed such levels of rhythmic precision, expert charts, or unfettered joy. Unbelievably, this gem has been out of print for years, with original copies both on vinyl and CD commanding steep prices. our reissue restores not only the sonics but the record’s place in jazz history.

Frank Sinatra's collaborations with Count Basie were among the singer's better ventures back into jazz in the early 1960s, and led not only to a couple of great studio albums, and one superb live Sinatra album, but also to Basie's being signed to the Sinatra-founded Reprise label in the mid-'60s. The 53 minutes of music captured on Live at the Sands was recorded during the opening sets from three different shows in late January and early February of 1966, by Basie and his band during the engagement with Sinatra at the Sands Hotel that yielded that live Sinatra album. Maybe that raises the expectations, because this release is a slight disappointment – the band sounds OK, but except for Basie himself and drummer Sonny Payne, it seems like they're walking their way through some of this repertoire. There are a number of good moments here: "I Needs to Be Bee'd With," "Flight of the Foo Birds," "Satin Doll," "Blues for Home," and "This Could Be the Start of Something Big" (which is worth hearing for the ensemble work and Eric Dixon and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis' solos); the band finally takes flight, but compared with some of the recordings of complete shows by Basie that are nothing less than great, a lot of this is secondary. Given the fact that it was Sinatra's set that was going to be taped for release for certain, the band may, indeed, have been holding back during its own set, for good reason. Even the audience response says it, positive and polite but not excessive – they were there for Sinatra, and nothing Basie and company did were likely to bowl them over, so why make the effort? It's not a bad set, and some of it – "Makin' Whoopee" (especially the call and response on the piano), "Corner Pocket," and "Jumpin' at the Woodside" – has great appeal. But this is overall a legendary band doing a somewhat less-than-legendary set, during some gigs that, in fairness, yielded up a great live album elsewhere. The quality is solid live sound, in crisp stereo from a nicely controlled mid-'60s venue, using state-of-the-art equipment.

Review by Bruce Eder,

The mid-'60s are regarded as a creative low point for the Count Basie Orchestra, but this live recording proves that the Basie band was as stylish and swingin' as ever in 1966, though fewer folks were paying attention. Recorded during a week-long stint at the Las Vegas Sands Hotel, this release compiles material from the band's opening sets prior to their performances with the main attraction that week, Frank Sinatra.

Live at the Sands serves as an excellent Basie sampler, in part because it offers many of the band's best-known tunes, including "Splanky," "Corner Pocket," "Jumpin' at the Woodside," and a spare version of "One O'Clock Jump," Basie's signature song. There are also a few graceful ballads, making this a well-rounded collection.

By itself, Quincy Jones' arrangement of "I Can't Stop Loving You" makes this CD worth the price. It's simply the best instrumental version of Don Gibson's country classic I have heard, and it may be the best version period. When those killer horns top off the chorus with a breathy flourish, it's one of those sublime touches that separates great music from the ordinary.

The performances at the Sands are also notable because they marked the return of three of Basie's best-known sidemen: trombonist Al Grey, tenor saxman Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, and drummer Sonny Payne. All three are featured prominently here, and they really deliver the goods. Grey's muted trombone leads the way on a mellow version of "Makin' Whoopee!," while Davis has several moments in the spotlight, including an extended solo on "Jumpin' at the Woodside," the CD's smoker.

Duke Ellington once credited Basie for having the best rhythm section in jazz. A great swing drummer has always sat at the heart of his orchestra, be he Philly Jo Jones, Rufus "Speedy" Jones, or Butch Miles, the band's current skins man. The flamboyant Sonny Payne rates with Basie's best, and on Live at the Sands he helps drive this music with his relentless swaying tempos.

William "Count" Basie had an unparalleled talent for stripping tunes down to their swinging essence. To this day, no big band swings with more riffing intensity and rhythmic precision. Young people who are into the Squirrel Nut Zippers, the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, or other pseudo jazz outfits simply must check out the swingingest music machine the world has yet seen, the Count Basie Orchestra. Live at the Sands serves an excellent introduction.

Review by Ed Kopp,

Count Basie - Live at the Sands 1966 (Before Frank) (1998) MFSL Remastered 2013, Audio CD Layer [Re-Up]

William "Count" Basie - piano
Al Aarons, George "Sonny" Cohn, Wallace Davenport, Phil Guilbeau - trumpets
Henderson Chambers, Al Grey, Grover Mitchell - trombones
Bill Hughes - bass trombone
Marshal Royal - clarinet, alto saxophone
Bobby Plater - flute, tenor saxophone
Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis - tenor saxophone
Charlie Fowlkes - flute, baritone saxophone
Freddie Green - guitar
Norman Keenan - bass
Percival "Sonny" Payne - drums
Quincy Jones - arranger, conductor

Recorded January 26-29 & February 1, 1966 in the Copa Room, Sands Hotel, Las Vegas
Original sessions produced by Sonny Burke and recorded by Lowell Frank.


01. Introduction (0:49)
02. Splanky (3:53)
03. I Can't Stop Loving You (3:41)
04. I Needs to Be Bee'd With (3:52)
05. Flight of the Foo Birds (3:08)
06. Satin Doll (3:59)
07. Makin' Whoopee! (4:21)
08. Corner Pocket (5:33)
09. One O'Clock Jump (2:19)
10. Go Away Little Girl (3:30)
11. Whirly Bird (5:11)
12. Blues for Ilene (6:03)
13. This Could Be the Start of Something Big (3:10)
14. Jumpin' at the Woodside (3:35)

Exact Audio Copy V1.3 from 2. September 2016

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Count Basie / Live At The Sands (Before Frank) (2013 MFSL)

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foobar2000 1.2 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
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Analyzed: Count Basie / Live at the Sands (Before Frank)

DR Peak RMS Duration Track
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DR12 -1.15 dB -16.47 dB 3:53 02-Splanky
DR11 -0.79 dB -13.99 dB 3:41 03-I Can't Stop Loving You
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DR13 -1.31 dB -18.01 dB 3:30 10-Go Away Little Girl
DR10 -0.06 dB -12.94 dB 5:11 11-Whirly Bird
DR12 -0.76 dB -15.88 dB 6:03 12-Blues for Ilene
DR12 -0.11 dB -14.46 dB 3:10 13-This Could Be the Start of Something Big
DR8 -0.08 dB -11.43 dB 3:35 14-Jumpin' at the Woodside

Number of tracks: 14
Official DR value: DR12

Samplerate: 44100 Hz
Channels: 2
Bits per sample: 16
Bitrate: 884 kbps
Codec: FLAC

Count Basie - Live at the Sands 1966 (Before Frank) (1998) MFSL Remastered 2013, Audio CD Layer [Re-Up]

Count Basie - Live at the Sands 1966 (Before Frank) (1998) MFSL Remastered 2013, Audio CD Layer [Re-Up]