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At The Sands With Count Basie And Frank Sinatra

1801 words - 8 pages

At the Sands with Count Basie and Frank Sinatra
The year was 1966 Frank Sinatra was at the peak of his career. There he stood on the stage in the Copa Room at the Sands Hotel and Casino in front of Count Basie and his Orchestra recording what is considered the best album of his career. The album “Sinatra at the Sands” would be his first album recorded live to be released and the album would achieve gold in sales. Sinatra was in his environment, a cozy salon style venue with an enthusiastic crowd in Las Vegas. The album was recorded by Reprise and the label engineer was Lowell Frank and produced by Sonny Burke. Reprise had formerly recorded two other albums: “Sinatra-Basie” and “It Might As ...view middle of the document...

Quincy Jones as the conductor and arranger. Quincy Jones was a freelance arranger but he had previously worked with Basie in the album “It Might As Well Be Swing”. He was also the first African American to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Score twice in one year. Al Aarons was a trumpeter he was a member of the Basie Orchestra from 1961 to 1969 when he left to work with singers Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. Sonny Cohn was a member of the Red Saunders’ band but after several down sizes he accepted an offer to join Basie’s Orchestra in 1960 where he remained until Basie’s death in 1984. Wallace Davenport filled the position of trumpeter. Davenport played on tour with Lionel Hampton throughout Europe and the U.S. In 1964 he would work with the Basie band but in 1966 he was reunited with Hampton. Phil Guilbeau was also a trumpeter with the band although he never himself became famous he did play with Otis Redding and Ray Charles as well as Count Basie in his widely unknown career. (Guilbeau, 2009)
Al Grey worked with Lionel Hampton and also did some solo work with Dizzy Gillespie before he found a place in Count Basie’s band as a fill in on his European Tour, after 1961 he would only occasionally play with Basie. Another trombonist in the Basie Orchestra was Henderson Chambers, Chambers spent time playing with great musicians like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, and Ray Charles. In 1966 he would do some work with Count Basie but he passed away in 1967. The third trombonist of the group was Grover Mitchell he did work with Hampton and Ellington before he began working with Basie in 1962, in 1970 he became the bands leading trombonist. Charles Fowlkes was the bass trombonist for Basie for twenty-five years; he also played the tenor saxophone, clarinet, and violin. Bill Hughes the final trombonist in the group spent most of his career with Count Basie. He had an offer to join Duke Ellington’s band as well but he choose Basie’s Orchestra because he knew three of the members personally.
The Alto-Saxophonist Marshall Royal played with Lionel Hampton and Bobby Plater before joining the Orchestra where he played until he died in 1982. The Tenor Saxophonists were: Eric Dixon and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis. Dixon is credited for playing on more than 200 recordings and is best known for his work with the Count for nearly twenty years. “Lockjaw” Davis worked with Louis Armstrong and even ran his own bands throughout his career.
The last Members of the Orchestra at the Sands Hotel were Freddie Green, Norman Keenan, Sonny Payne, and Bill Miller (who was not part of Basie’s band). Green an accomplished jazz guitarist was introduced to Count Basie by the talent scout John H. Hammond. Green was one of the longest lasting members of the band staying for fifty years. Keenan filled the part of the double bass in the band from 1965 to 1974. Payne became a member of Basie’s band in 1954 he spent ten years on constant tour with...

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