Recorded at the famous Universal Studios in Chicago in 1969, this is the first of two classic Basie recordings for MPS. There are at least three aspects that place Basic Basie on the ‘special album’ list: lots of the Orchestra’s standards arranged by the inimitable Chico O’Farrell, more Basie on piano, and some great tenor solos by one Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis. The band comes out hot and swinging on Jesse Stone’s Idaho, with a bouncy piano solo, and “Lockjaw” pours out a scalding half chorus starting at the bridge. Blues in My Heart has a laid-back Basie and Davis, and on I Don’t Stand a Chance Davis blows a warm, breathy ballad. Red Roses, Moonglow, and Ma He’s Making Eyes at Me are all beautifully arranged at a medium tempo, with Basie and Davis the soloists. The funky M-Squad features Eric Dixon’s pristine flute solo, the leisurely Sweet Lorraine drips warm-honeyed notes, while Fats Waller’s Ain’t Misbehavin’ deservedly features Basie’s piano. Don’t Worry gives the listener a sweet taste of Basie band stalwart Marshall Royal’s alto, and on As Long as I Live Basie takes on the melody with a short aside from “Lockjaw”. A title that fits hand-in-glove to Basie and band, I’ve Got The World On A String closes out the session. 12 concise, perfectly sculpted miniatures (only two pieces are over three minutes) – a great addition to any big band collection.