Quincy Jones-Sammy Nestico Orchestra – Basie and Beyond
Some Count Basie fans might consider the title slightly misleading; although one of the two principals is arranger/composer Sammy Nestico, who was to Basie what Billy Strayhorn was to Duke Ellington, the only truly Basie-related track is a new version of “For Lena and Lennie,” which Quincy Jones wrote for the Count back in the ’60s.
The rest of the album alternates between classic Nestico tunes and resurrected oldies from Jones’s ’50s and ’60s jazz days. The 27-piece big band is an all-star date, mostly featuring West Coast jazzers and session men a generation or two after Basie’s, including flautist Hubert Laws, percussionist Paulinho da Costa, tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts and Charlie Christian-like electric guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr.
The set list is heavy on Nestico’s ballads, and the laid-back arrangements, laden with woodwinds and vibes, tend to glide more often than they swing, but BASIE AND BEYOND is a nice self-tribute to Jones’s and Nestico’s abilities.