“Basie Straight Ahead” by Count Basie is a timeless masterpiece that amasses all the components of old school cool jazz creating the essence of swing jazz.
The synergy among the musicians creates an infectious energy that propels each track forward. Basie’s signature piano style, characterized by its sparse yet impactful phrasing, takes center stage, while the once rookie Sammy Nestico demonstrates his arrangement skills on his first album with him.
Standout songs include my personal favorite, Switch in Time, and Queen Bee, each with deep emphasis on harmony between saxophone and trumpet. More relaxed and curious songs include “Hay Burner” and “That Warm Feeling”, for those walking their dog on a hot summer day.
All in all, “Basie Straight Ahead” is one of the best Jazz albums of the 20th century, and cements Count Basie and Sammy Nestico into the Jazz Hall of Fame.
Rating 100 points/100
A Charlie Brown Christmas
“A Charlie Brown Christmas” by the Vince Guaraldi Trio is a holiday classic, listened to by many across the world. Vince Guaraldi, one of the greatest jazz pianists of the generation, masterfully demonstrates his improv skill on his 5× Platinum 8th studio album.
As one listens, the album creates a warm aura. The soft piano combined with the children’s choir, creates a nostalgic feeling of childhood. Songs such as “Christmas Time Is Here” emphasize a slower tempo and sentimental chords, while “Skating” increases the tempo to play with its name, moving into motion a sense of thrill with the beauty of a snowy Christmas.
All in all, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will remain locked onto my Holiday playlist until the sun freezes over, and cements itself as a 10/10 album.