Count Basie and His Orchestra – The Atomic Mr. Basie (1957)
Trivia question: in terms of noble status, where is a Count ranked?
Until this week, I hadn’t the foggiest.
Thanks to this user-friendly wikipedia chart, I’ve learned the title of ‘Count’ is a mid-level ranking, somewhere between the entry-level Gentleman and the top-of-the-heap Emperor.
Naturally, I’m now curious as to where Count Basie would be ranked compared to the other 1001 royalty (and perhaps a bit curious as to why the “King of ___” title is so often assigned to genre-leaders instead of the higher-ranking “Emperor”).
I struggled to find artists from the list with “Esquire” or “Hereditary Knight” as a part of their stage name. I also haven’t heard B.B. King’s entry yet, the appropriately titled Live at the Regal.
But from the Chivalric-inspired titles I’ve heard, based on The Atomic Mr. Basie, I think the Count is well placed.
It’s upbeat & fun with a big, big band sound. Considering Splanky reminds me of the theme song from The Naked Gun, of course I approve of this recording!
If I were to rank each of the 1001 albums (remind me to not actually attempt this), Count Basie would wind up somewhere in the middle of the pack.
A few spots higher, you’d likely find Duke Ellington, performing live at Newport.
Ever so slightly above Duke, whether he’s a symbol, a scent, or an artist formerly known as an upper-echelon ranking, there’s only one Prince.
That being said, mid-level royalty is still royalty.
So even if The Atomic Mr. Basie may not quite be approaching the distinction of Emperor, it remains far from a lesser status of nobility.