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With Count Basie and his Orchestra
In Juan-les-Pins, jazz, that most American of exports, was free to spread its wings. Established by Sidney Bechet upon falling in love with the region, the Antibes jazz festival was, for a time, a home-away-from-home for many of jazz' African-American icons. Here, in clubs and cafes as the sea breeze blew through, they discovered a French audience primed and ready for the freest and most daring jazz they could muster. Jean-Christophe Averty gifted posterity a glimpse into that transcendent environment through his recording of the festivals. This compilation series, shot in the early 1960s, preserves their heady art at one of jazz' most exciting moments, suspending them in glorious black and white footage.
Part one kicks off with Count Basie and his Orchestra. Already an international star, he delivers a cacophony of swing and energy, full to the brim of virtuosity and off-the-cuff, vibrating solos. Next up is Lambert, Hendrix and Ross, one of the foremost singing trios of all time, who cover "Rusty Dusty Blues," perhaps in a nod to the man who popularized it, Count Basie, who may have been watching. Last up is the one-and-only Ray Charles, who was playing in France for the first time, a country that had already fallen in love with his music.
Thursday, February 29, 2024