Author Topic: Count Basie vs. Duke Ellington, which is greater?  (Read 162 times)

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Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Count Basie vs. Duke Ellington, which is greater?
« on: May 16, 2022, 05:43:47 PM »
Basie imHo. The music is bluesy and often macho. Very straight-ahead. No snake oil. The music swings and penetrates. The quasi-intellectualism of Ellington is not very appealing to me. Just my personal preference and my humble opinion.

Offline Brian

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Re: Count Basie vs. Duke Ellington, which is greater?
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2022, 06:40:23 PM »
Oooh, this is a very difficult question for me and not one to be answered quickly or easily. But I just want to say at first, I love how much Basie could do as a piano player with only a small number of notes. At times seemingly only one finger. A lot of his solos are the very model of simplicity and perfection. Basie playing single notes with one finger on the piano reminds me of the Japanese Zen visual art of drawing a picture using the fewest brush strokes possible.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2022, 06:41:55 PM by Brian »

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Count Basie vs. Duke Ellington, which is greater?
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2022, 06:22:48 AM »
Duke Ellington for me. No contest. Now for me to answer why: Ellington, in my mind, has had more interesting recordings, especially the albums from the late 50s until his death. The album was treated with more care and the creativity of some of these albums like the New Orleans Suite remain some of my favorite recordings of all-time. Also, Ellington's partnership with Billy Strayhorn added even more to the sophistication and sheer eloquence of his music. I'll also just go ahead and say it, no one arranged big band music like the Duke.

Some important Ellington albums for me:









« Last Edit: May 17, 2022, 06:29:14 AM by Mirror Image »
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

My "Top 5" Favorite Composers: Debussy, Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius and Bartók


Offline Roasted Swan

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Re: Count Basie vs. Duke Ellington, which is greater?
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2022, 06:30:50 AM »
Basie is brilliant at what he does.  Ellington pushes the envelope more - with great success and on occasion clunking failures.... but I like that he tries.  So its Ellington for me

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Count Basie vs. Duke Ellington, which is greater?
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2022, 06:33:58 AM »
Basie is brilliant at what he does.  Ellington pushes the envelope more - with great success and on occasion clunking failures.... but I like that he tries.  So its Ellington for me

I'll also add to my previous comments that the harmonic ingenuity of Ellington is what puts him ahead of Count Basie for me.
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

My "Top 5" Favorite Composers: Debussy, Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius and Bartók


Offline Brian

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Re: Count Basie vs. Duke Ellington, which is greater?
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2022, 10:16:32 AM »
Although they were "rival" bandleaders and did the same job, I don't really think of them in the same way at all, because Basie was a fun creator of musical jams while Ellington was one of America's great composers. It's like comparing the best sandwich shop to the best five-star restaurant.

There's only one correct answer:


Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Count Basie vs. Duke Ellington, which is greater?
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2022, 10:24:44 AM »
Although they were "rival" bandleaders and did the same job, I don't really think of them in the same way at all, because Basie was a fun creator of musical jams while Ellington was one of America's great composers. It's like comparing the best sandwich shop to the best five-star restaurant.

There's only one correct answer:



I don't buy into the whole "greater" aspect of Manubu's topic. I'm simply choosing my own preference, which is really what everyone is doing here essentially, because as you wrote, Basie and Ellington couldn't be any more different from the other.
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

My "Top 5" Favorite Composers: Debussy, Mahler, Strauss, Sibelius and Bartók


Offline Dry Brett Kavanaugh

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Re: Count Basie vs. Duke Ellington, which is greater?
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2022, 01:50:24 PM »
Sounds like I asked which is greater Salmon sushi or NY Yankees.  ;D

My fav Basie albums are below. Blues, blues, and blues.