Recorded in Los Angeles, California between December 1974 and November 1981.
This is a hodgepodge collection focusing on Basie's piano-playing from four different sessions. Five selections find him in trios while the other three numbers are meetings with Oscar Peteson during which they both double on organ. All of these performances are unavailable elsewhere and are enjoyable if not too unique.
BASIE AND FRIENDS sees The Count in a variety of musical settings. The album comprises four different recording sessions that highlight Basie's piano playing. Very few of the legendary bandleader's albums focus specifically on his pianistic skills; Basie always employed a spare and understated approach that served more as a vehicle for accompaniment than a spotlight for his own wares.
Given this, BASIE AND FRIENDS contains some unique performances, many of which are due with the fact that no horns appear on the album. Basie performs duets with the technical wizard, Oscar Peterson, on "She's Funny That Way," "Royal Garden Blues," and "Sweet Lorraine"; the Canadian pianist seems decidedly more restrained when teamed up with The Count. In fact, Basie's quasi stride style blends well with Peterson's flashier approach. Basie sustains a strong rapport with the personnel included here; BASIE AND FRIENDS may be the jazz icon's most intimate of releases.
Count Basie (piano, organ)
Oscar Peterson (piano, organ)
Freddie Green (guitar)
Ray Brown, John Heard, Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen (bass)
Louis Bellson (drums)