Count Basie Plays Hefti's "L'il Darlin'"
Noted Composer, Arranger, Trumpet Luminary
Neil Hefti was one of those guys that musicians loved, we loved him like life itself. He was a player, capable of sharing a stage with the likes of Harry James and Miles Davis. He was a composer capable of holding his own with the likes of Mancini, Previn, Ellington, and all the other giants.
His "earworms" like the themes for "Batman" and the "Odd Couple" have resided in the heads of us all.
My own best memory of him is when I showed up for a session. We were recording a big band arrangement of Smokey Robinson's "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" that Neil hoped to sell down the line.
I looked at my guitar chart and it gave the key. Then I saw on the staff that he had scrawled
"Fatback groove, use the wah Stevie."
I loved that man.