Count Basie – The Atomic Mr. Basie: #934 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Count Basie - The Atomic Mr Basie

Why is Count Basie’s The Atomic Mr. Basie on my best 1,000 albums ever list?

When I think about what I want out of lively, jumping jazz from the 1950s, this album answers the call.

What does Count Basie’s The Atomic Mr. Basie mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?

“The Kid from Red Bank” jumps and moves, bass walking fast and piano bumping. “Fight of the Foo Birds” (presumably predating the fighters of Foo and Foo Fighters both by some number of decades) is what I imagine the ideal song to walk into and hear playing at a marvelously glamorous and smoke-filled (important: this was an okay and even expected thing to happen in glamorous surroundings circa the late 1950s) ballroom in 1958: swanky all the way, dig? And “Double-O” is all you could want and more out of exciting jazz tune, daddy-o.

When I think about what I want out of lively, jumping jazz from the 1950s, this album answers the call.

It’s strange and, frankly, a bummer that the specter of nuclear annihilation has been present for just about three-quarters of a century now. It’s been around since well before my time and will be around for the foreseeable future.

While “mutually assured destruction” (or MAD) brings some amount of reassurance – along with extra-healthy doses of anxiety – that sane leaders of theoretically well organized and governed nation-states with nukes would never choose to press the ultimate button of buttons, there’s the extra fun thought that rogue figures or organizations that span outside of traditional nation sites (see: ISIS, or some virulent reactionary faction in the U.S. for that matter) could get their hands on a nuke or two.

I’m a big Nelson DeMille fan, and went on a tear of reading his long running series of novels featuring ex-NYC cop John Corey. Wild Fire, published in 2006, sets up a fictional yet credible doomsday scenario where elements of the U.S. government in cahoots with some radical big money interests set about to nuke a few U.S. cities with the idea that that would compel/force the president of the United States to wipe out most if not all of the Islamic world in one go. Compelling stuff. Also: creepy stuff.

If you’re interested in learning more about the origin days of the nuclear age during World War II without putting too much effort in, I highly recommend the TV show called Manhattan (it’s about The Manhattan Project, see, and not the New York borough-meets-island). Sadly, it only ran a few seasons but it’s entertaining and interesting stuff. And on a final pop culture note, if you’re a fan of Succession (which you should be), Ashley Zuckerman — who  plays political consultant and one-time Shiv Roy boyfriend Nate Sofrelli — plays lead role Charlie Isaacs on Manhattan.

Some stats & info about Count Basie – The Atomic Mr. Basie

Count Basie’s The Atomic Mr. Basie on Spotify

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective take on what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.