Fantastic Concert with Count Basie Band
It’s amazing how life works out… I was looking at shoes in Nordstrom Rack and started chatting with a man who was looking for his “symphony” shoes. Say what? It turns out that he performs bass in the Pacific Symphony in Orange County, Calif. and he needed a pair of shiny black shoes. One thing led to another and he invited me to see his upcoming concert with Count Basie band. How could he possibly know that I love jazz? I went and sat in a place I’ve never sat before–behind the orchestra. It was actually one of the best experiences to try. You are so close you can reach down and touch the drummers, pianists, and stage musicians. And best of all, I watched the animated expressions of Carl St. Clair, whose back usually faces the audience while he conducts. What a lively and animated guy!

The most interesting piece possibly was Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix. I think if Hendrix was alive today, he would love the orchestra rendition. It was very cool. A new piece the Count Basie Orchestra band lead trumpeter dug out of the archives from the Basie collection called 8th Veil was performed as its world premier. It was the 2nd such world premier in a week–I also saw David Benoit’s Journey of the Endeavour composition in Torrance, Calif. the week before.

They don’t allow photographs during concerts so I have nothing to show for my evening of lively jazz, but I do recommend you see the Count Basie Orchestra if they’re passing through your town. They had just returned from a tour of Russia when I saw them.

About: Debbie Stock has loved jazz ever since she was young and first listened to Modern Jazz Quartet, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Ornette Coleman, and countless jazz groups’ recordings!