William Count Basie was one of the most important, innovative and influential personalities in jazz during the middle decades of the 20th century, both as pianist, composer and bandleader, his music transcending the worlds of small group jazz, big band music, swing and R&B, and with many future stars of the genre coming to prominence playing with his orchestra. Having honed his skills with Bennie Moten's band in Kansas City, he formed his own orchestra in 1936 after Moten's death and after a lengthy engagement in Chicago signed to Decca, recording for them until almost the end of the decade. This 63-track 3-CD set comprises his releases for Decca during those years, which laid down a marker as to the talent and style of his bands, and constitute a significant and satisfying body of work. The collection features many of his well-known compositions like One O'Clock Jump, Blue And Sentimental, Blues In The Dark, along with some of the classic standards of the era. A number of the tracks feature vocals by the great singers Jimmy Rushing and Helen Humes, and among the predominantly big band recordings are some by Basie with a trio comprising Fred Green, Walter Page and Jo Jones. Among the other musicians in his line-up were Buck Clayton, Lester Young, Harry Edison and Dickie Wells. It's a substantial, entertaining and enlightening overview of this key era of Basie's career.