Best Recorded Big Band Albums

As frequent readers of Jazz-Sax.Com will know, I won a pretty awesome M-Audio package. I really did not have the “horse power” to use it until my G4 PowerMac decided to die. Followed by my G4 Cube (though that was probably more me messing around with it than it just dying on it’s own accord. IE: It was apart and being messed with). Anyhow, I invested in a new MacPro 2.88 Dual QuadCore computer. Whoa. Fast!

Anyhow, a big band I play in is in the process of recording a demo. We’ve had two concert recordings. The first, according to the engineer, didn’t come out so clean, and would require a lot of work. The second came out way better. I was able to obtain the ProTools session from the first recordings, and have been using ProTools M-Powered to clean it up and what not.

Now, the question is actually two questions. What is the best studio recording of a Big Band, and what is the best live recording of a big band? For the former, I’d have to say Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Albums are amazingly well done. For the latter, I think the one that sticks out in my mind is Frank Sinatra and Count Basie – Sinatra at the Sands.


4 thoughts on “Best Recorded Big Band Albums”

  1. I would recommend checking out any of the big band recordings by Manchester Craftmens Guild. They have some excellent recorded live performances by the Basie Band, Bob Mintzer, Dizzy’s Big Band.

    Interesting link. Thanks!

  2. Well, I will agree with the GG albums. And they must be heavily isolated as they offer playalongs, solo contests, etc. with various collections of the instrumentation included.

    BUT, for the longest time I would have to say that the Rob McConnell album “Big Band Jazz” recorded in 1981 would be near the tops of the list. It’s really *both* studio and live — as it was recorded “direct to disc” with each side in a single take from what I’ve heard. The gaps between the tracks a little longer than usual to allow the musicians to change charts (with the mic levels turned off). The album had a limited pressing and is no longer available. I think it came out on CD sometime later — but I still have the D2D LP #25081 actually. I’ve also been told that they made a couple of takes — so other LP’s (CD?) has different solos. Have not confirmed this though — just what I’ve been told.

    BTW, I heard this band live at Monterey Jazz Fest shortly after this album came out. They were delayed arriving to close the Friday night show that year and finally went on at nearly 2AM (5AM Toronto time?) in 40deg weather. The band smoked!!! How I’ll never know.

    This LP has the great recording of Just Friends which I would have to put into the top 10 BB charts of all time to either hear or play. Anybody else with votes for other tunes in that top ten?

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