We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Success! You're on the list.

Good Lord, but Basie’s Beatle Bag must have seemed hopelessly square when it was first released in 1966. The British Invasion had conquered America, Kennedy was dead, Vietnam was heating up, and here comes Count Basie, who had once led the greatest swing bands in American history, doing Fab Four covers. Baby boomers must have roared. Now that the kids of those boomers are more into Cab Calloway than Creedence, and Hanoi Jane Fonda is seen bawling at Saving Private Ryan (according to the New York Post), this handsome reissue makes sense. (And make no mistake: Swing is not going away, naysaying rock critics notwithstanding. When the kids work their way past Big Bad Voodoo Daddy to Basie, Ellington, and the other greats, their fad will begin to acquire some real roots.) Basie’s Beatle Bag may have had pop aspirations, but it’s all solid swing, adhering so close to the sexy walking beats Basie helped create (in his hometown of Kansas City in the ’30s, it was said, you could keep time outside jazz clubs just by strolling down the street) that it’s easy to lose the familiar threads of “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” and every other track except for “Yesterday,” which features a straight-ahead vocal by Bill Henderson. Maybe that’s why in 1966 Down Beat magazine assured freaked-out jazz snobs that Basie’s Beatle invasion was “in the tradition.” Fittingly, the disc ends with Leiber and Stoller’s “Kansas City,” a favorite of the early Beatles and a song that celebrates Basie’s hometown and its rhythms—which influenced R&B and, ultimately, the moptops themselves.—Mark Gauvreau Judge