1001 Albums: The Atomic Mr. Basie



Artist: Count Basie

Album: The Atomic Mr. Basie

Year: 1958

Length: 39:30

“dum dum dum dum dum dum” (bass note sounds)

This album packed quite a punch right off the top. I just went from a calm Buddy Holly song and then suddenly loud, exciting trumpets blared into my ear and scared the shit out of me in possibly the best way possible.

The more I’m listening to these albums the more I am starting to realise something. I love big band swing way more than I thought I did. I found myself beyond excited when the album started and was actually surprised by how much I engaged with the album all the way through (the album cover is pretty fucking great too, which made it all the better). I always knew I liked big band swing but this is cementing the fact that I love it. Once I’m done the 1001 albums list I think I will look in to learning way more about big band groups and possibly collecting swing albums as well… but still got another two years with this list before I can do that… possibly… we’ll see… but until then I’ll enjoy all the swing I can listen to (watch, this will be the last one, of course).

This album actually sounded as if it could be the soundtrack to some old gangster film. No joke, you could easily picture the scenes that match the music, from the femme fatale singing at the club to the sneaky secondary character, I believe they called him Teddy the Toad on this album. Whatever it was, it definitely had that vibe and I would love to see a film use this album as their soundtrack, if not for the feel at least for the challenge of creating a film based with scenes based on the song titles (good luck with Splanky… whatever the fuck that means). I’d go see it… unless it sucks… then that’s just a shame, because the soundtrack would be kick ass.

What’s also interesting is that this was the first instrumental album I encountered (ok, ok, I know, the Duke Ellington one was technically an instrumental as well, but due to it being a live album we still heard the Duke (presumably the Duke) speaking and thus I was able to find a quote for the beginning, unlike here) making it hard for me to find a quote for the beginning on this post… wait…

Either way Count Basie truly made an atomic album and this is one I’ll be looking for in record stores for sure.


Photoshop Credit: Julian Branco


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