Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
At this stage of his career, Count Basie is not unlike Leopold Stokowski or Arthuro Toscanini in the later years. Basie, like those departed giants, has made a monumental contribution to 20th-century music, and he continues to be an important influence.
The present Basie jazz orchestra appeared Sunday at the Museum of Natural History as part of the Smithsonian Jazz Heritage Series. The band is not the innovative force that it was in the '30s, nor is it equal to the Basie powerhouses of the '50s. No matter - it is a dynamic unit.
There is always, in a positive sense, a predictability about much of Basie's repertoire. It is certain that a listener will hear such classics as "One O'Clock Jump" and "Shiny Stockings," as well as lots of blues. One also can count on a few surprises, such as Sunday night's feature, an original, for talented young bassit John Clayton and a memorable ballad solo by alto saxophonist Danny Turner on "Easy Living." Waymond Reed on fluegelhorn also was a standout.
Much-publicized durmmer Butch Miles pushed the band with a Buddy Rich-style, not to mention an abundance of irritating, meaningless flash. But the most musical durmming of the evening came from a guest, alumnus Jo Jones, who sat in for "Jumpin' at the Woodside." Jones, one of the great jazz drummers, demonstrated what tasteful percussion is all about.