“One O’Clock Jump“ is a jazz standard, a 12-bar blues instrumental….which was written by Count Basie in 1937….as the melody derived from band members’ riffs….as Basie rarely wrote down musical ideas….so Eddie Durham and Buster Smith helped him crystallize his ideas. The original 1937 recording of the tune by Basie and his band is noted for the saxophone work of Herschel Evans and Lester Young….with trumpet by Buck Clayton….while Walter Page was on bass…..and The Count himself on piano.
“One O’Clock Jump” became the theme song of the Count Basie Orchestra….as they used it to close each of their concerts for the next half century. It was reportedly titled “Blue Ball” at first….but a radio announcer feared that title was too risqué. In 1979, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame…..and later, it was listed in the Songs of the Century.
The song is typical of Basie’s early riff style….as the instrumentation is based on “head arrangements”…. where each section makes up their part based on what the other sections are playing….while Individuals take turns improvising over the top of the entire sound. Basie recorded “One O’Clock Jump” several times after the original performance for Decca in 1937…..with one for Columbia Record in 1942 and 1950….and on a number of occasions in the fifties.
A popular jazz standard for virtually all top swing bands and their fans….along with jitter-buggers….it was part of the concert bill for Benny Goodman’s famous 1938 concert at Carnegie Hall…..and was also the last number ever recorded by Earl Hines in 1981 after a 58-year recording career. Al Hirt released a version on his 1961 album He’s the King and His Band…..whileRush drummer Neil Peart included “One O’Clock Jump” in his drum solos on the band’s concert tours in 2002 and 2004.
However, when you consider all the different renditions of this song that were recorded over the years….in our opinions here at ImaSportsphile…..this rendition performed on Austin City Limits by Roy Clark and Gatemouth Brown in 1978 is the best….as twin guitars show how the song was meant to be played.