Album: Kansas City Suite
Artist: Count Basie
On Kansas City Suite, the Count Basie Orchestra plays the music of famous saxophonist Benny Carter. Even with Carter providing the big band arrangements, Basie makes the music his own. Within the context of late-period Basie albums (and late-period Carter, for that matter), Kansas City Blues is as good as it gets.
Both Basie and Carter started their careers in the 1920s. The former set up shop in bluesy Kansas City; the latter hung around New York City and worked with the likes of Fletcher Henderson. Despite being staples of the swing era, neither of them crossed paths until this LP.*
Basie runs through these breezy songs in his typically relaxed style. As usual, there’s not a bad tune in the bunch, and two of them (“Sunset Glow” and “Meetin’ Time”) deserve to be discussed among Basie’s all-time best.
Basie was surprisingly prolific throughout the 1960s, and Kansas City Suite begins the decade on a strong note. It’s no April in Paris or Atomic Mr. Basie, but it’s still a great listen for fans of Basie and fans of jazz music in general.
*If this is wrong, please correct me in the comments below.