Jazz Style in Kansas City and the Southwest

Authors: Ross Russell
Copyright: 1971
Publisher: University of California Press
ISBN: 0-520-04785-0

Page 142: Freddie Green replaced Claude Williams on guitar and fitted perfectly into the smooth Basie-Page-Jones combination, completing the rhythm section for a long time to come.

Pages 156-157:  While Basie was under contract to Decca, Vocalion, the label that had first recorded the Basie small band under the Jones-Smith, Inc. pseudonym, organized a series of sessions featuring Billie Holiday.  Fifty titles were made for Vocalion between 1937 and 1941 on which Lester Young is heard in the pickup groups backing the singer.  Almost everyone from the Count Basie Orchestra appeared in the various groups behind Billie Holiday, including Freddie Green, Walter Page, and Jo Jones.  

Page 158: The Commodore label, launched by Milt Gabler from the Commodore Record Shop in New York, recorded five sides in 1938 with a Basie unit consisting of Lester Young, Eddie Durham, Buck Clayton, and a Page-Green-Jones rhythm section.  This session is an early experiment with a piano-less band and one of Lester's rare appearances on clarinet.  Young, Page, and Green joined a Benny Goodman group - Goodman, Harry James, Babe Russin, Jess Stacy, and Lionel Hampton - to cut six sides for RCA in March 1938.

Page 159: "D.B. Blues" was recorded by Lester Young in October 1945 in Hollywood.  Guitarist Freddie Green turned up to help make the date along with Vic Dickenson, Dodo Mamarosa, and Red Callaway.

Page 210: Another Kansas City legacy was the new rhythm section.  The model had been there for all to hear in the superb Count Basie section.  The Basie-Page-Jones-Green ensemble played "up", not down. Basie soloists had the feeling of the beat rising under them, like a tide, rather than beating them down or pushing from behind.  The Basie rhythm section was lighter in sound than the old Fletcher Henderson section or the highly-respected Jimmy Lunceford section, perhaps the most sophisticated in the traditional sense, of the swing bands in the late 1930s.

Page 218: "Countess" Margaret Johnson (pianist) recorded only once.  With Lester Young, Buck Clayton, Dickie Wells, Freddie Green, Walter Page, and Jo Jones, she was a member of a studio group backing Billie Holiday on four sides cut September 15, 1938.

Page 228: By the end of the 1920s, most of the banjo players were doubling on guitar, but widespread use of the guitar had to await improved recording techniques, and the changes that followed with the tuba being replaced by the string bass.  The evidence on record is never clear and the time and manner of the changeover (from banjo to guitar) is fairly complicated.  The guitar had been a standard fixture in New Orleans string bands and made occasional appearances there in jazz bands.  The Count Basie band's ideal guitarist, Freddie Green, was added in 1937.  He was a native of Charleston, South Carolina, and came into the band on the recommendation of John Hammond, who had heard Green playing for a small group in a Greenwich Village cabaret.  Green rarely took solos.  He was a backup man and chordist for Walter Page.  The customary effect of adding a guitar to a rhythm section was to stiffen the beat and coarsen the texture, but this did not occur when Freddie Green was added to the Basie section.  His sonority was soft and his strummed notes rhythmically precise.  Other big band guitarists in Green's style were Ted Brinson with the Clouds of Joy, and Efferge Ware with the Kansas City Rockets.

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