2. Lil' Darlin
This song was chosen by Bucky Pizzarelli. It was composed by Neil Hefti and redefined as a quintessential ballad by Count Basie. Bucky gave us a history lesson on this in the studio, explaining that the tune was originally written as an upbeat dance number, but when they slowed it down in the Count Basie Orchestra the tune really took on its character as we know it today. So in order to play this tune correctly you have to keep it slow. He reminded us of this repeatedly during rehearsal. That slow, relaxed swing always feels so good, and given the subject of the song, is quite appropriate to create the right mood.
Sometimes I think if you want to fully understand a song you have to understand its historical context. This is a song from Bucky's generation so it was fitting to have him playing on it and giving us the correct interpretation and historical context.