Basie Meets Bond

October 11, 2016 - Comment

This campy LP from the 1960s features the Count Basie Orchestra playing ten themes from four early James Bond movies, with arrangements by either Chico O’Farrill or George Williams. While it seems doubtful that Basie added any of this music to his regular band repertoire, his band does its best to do justice to the

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This campy LP from the 1960s features the Count Basie Orchestra playing ten themes from four early James Bond movies, with arrangements by either Chico O’Farrill or George Williams. While it seems doubtful that Basie added any of this music to his regular band repertoire, his band does its best to do justice to the arrangements. The somewhat monotonous “007” is converted into a dramatic calypso, while “The Golden Horn” is straight-ahead swing and might surprise someone who hadn’t seen the film From Russia With Love. But most Basie fans will want to know how the band handled the best-known themes. “Goldfinger” is given a low-key but swinging treatment that has a fine solo by Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, while the foot-patting treatment of “Thunderball” focuses on Marshall Royal’s soulful alto sax and a typically sparse Basie solo. This long out of print record is unlikely to resurface as a CD reissue and it can be safely bypassed by most jazz fans, but Basie devotees who have a fondness for the earliest James Bond films (Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, and Thunderball) might find this surprising LP worth the investment — if they can only locate a copy. ~ Ken Dryden

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