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Count Basie and his Orchestra crafted this instrumental jazz “landmark of the big band Swing Era” NRR around a head arrangement, an approach in which a song was developed through rehearsal and memorized without being written down. NRR The approach let musicians focus on the rhythmic drive NRR which was the main thrust of Basie’s and other Kansas City dance bands. Such songs were known as “stomps” and “shouts” or, in this case, a “jump”. CR
The approach also allowed soloists a lot of freedom. In “One O’Clock Jump”, extraordinary players like Lester Young, Herschel Evans, and Buck Clayton are allowed a showcase their interplay of brass and reeds. NRR
The song grew out of a rearrangement of Fats Waller’s “Six or Seven Times” CR and became a song originally called “Blue Ball”, CR which showcased the band’s ties to the blues. However, when Basie & crew were scheduled to perform the song for a radio broadcast, the announced balked at the risqué name so Basie retitled it “One O’Clock Jump”. CR
Basie was the first to chart with the song in 1937. The following year, Harry James and Benny Goodman had top 10 versions with it. However, the song has become known as “Basie’s signature theme, and the band played it at the end of their performances for more than 50 years.” NPR As a demonstration of this instrumental’s staying power and ability to cross genres, country group Asleep at the Wheel won a Grammy in 1978 for best country instrumental performance. TY Neil Peart, the drummer with progressive rock group Rush, used it to conclude his solos in concert from 2002 to 2004. WK
Related DMDB Link(s):
- the top 1000 songs of all time, according to the DMDB
- Grammy Hall of Fame
- National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress
- NPR’s “Most Important American Musical Works of the 20th Century”
- the RIAA’s top 365 songs of the 20th century
- the top 100 jazz songs of all time
Resources and Related Links:
- Count Basie’s DMDB Encyclopedia entry
- the DMDB page for “One O’Clock Jump”
- CR Toby Creswell (2005). 1001 Songs: The Great Songs of All Time. Thunder’s Mouth Press: New York, NY. Page 370.
- NPR National Public Radio web site (1999). “The Most Important American Musical Works of the 20th Century”.
- NRR National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress The Full National Recording Registry
- TY Don Tyler (1985). Hit Parade 1920-1955. New York, NY: Quill. Page 95.
- WK Wikpedia entry: One O’Clock Jump