Remastered 180-gram vinyl reissue
Gatefold jacket contains liner notes, remastering info and a picture of the original master tape box
When Count Basie entered the studio in January, 1970 with his 17-piece big band to record High Voltage, he ushered in his last full decade as bandleader of his orchestra. The orchestra had left its imprint on the '60s by recording with the likes of Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald. There would be more great albums with star vocalists in the '70s, but the bands purely instrumental works, which had begun in 1965, would also continue. Back then Basie had engaged acclaimed Cuban composer/arranger Chico OFarrill to arrange the music for such concept albums as Basie Meets Bond and Basie's Beatle Bag, transforming them into crossover gems.
On High Voltage O'Farrill demonstrates his affinity to Basie's big band sound, this time with a repertoire of standards. For this album, Basie specifically chose pieces the band had never recorded in their more than 30-year existence. This is saying something, since the band covers such an impressive span of jazz history, from the beginning of the swing era to the bop-influenced bands of the '50s on through to the present album. The Count's new drummer Harold Jones propels Fred Fishers' "Chicago" with a tremendous drive. The Rogers and Hart classic "Have You Met Miss Jones" features beguilingly dense deep-register horn lines and an almost languorous piano, and Eric Dixons tasty flute solo spices up "The Lady Is A Tramp."
With its smoky sophistication, Eddie Lockjaw Davis Tenor dominates "Bewitched," whereas guest trumpeter Joe Newmans muted tongue-in-cheek solo highlights "Day In Day Out." Of course, Basie himself also steps forward: for instance, on the Fats Waller-like intro to "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You," and with the playful grace notes on "If I Were A Bell." Reminiscent of the Las Vegas shows the band performed with Frank Sinatra, "Get Me To The Church On Time" is also a masterful dialogue between the horn sections.