Jazz icon, bandleader, Count Basie
birth name: William Allen Basie

Count Basie

August 21, 1904 Red Bank, NJ ~ April 26, 1984, Hollywood, FL

In 1935, pianist William “Count” Basie, a fixture on the Kansas City jazz scene since the late 1920s, organized his own rocking, riffing, blues-based big band. The following year this freewheeling unit came east and took New York by storm. For the next decade and a half, Basie’s stellar cast which included such original jazz stylists as tenor saxophonists Lester Young and Herschel Evans, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry Sweets Edison, trombonist Dickie Wells, drummer Jo Jones, and singer Jimmy Rushing - set the standard for big band swing. ~ All about Jazz: Count Basie ~ retrieved July 17, 2013 © All About Jazz

Basie's orchestra was characterized by a light, swinging rhythm section that he led from the piano, lively ensemble work, and generous soloing. Basie was not a composer like Duke Ellington or an important soloist like Benny Goodman. His instrument was his band, which was considered the epitome of swing and became broadly influential on jazz. ~ Allmusic: Count Basie ~ retrieved July 17, 2013 © Allmusic

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Bill Basie, a young silent movie and vaudeville pianist from Red Bank, New Jersey, had by 1928 joined bassist Walter Page's Blue Devils, which featured an emerging blues legend, Jimmy Rushing, on vocals. The following year, Basie moved to Kansas bandleader Bennie Moten's elegantly punchy, ragtime and boogie-influenced band. But Moten died unexpectedly during a tonsillectomy in 1935, and Basie took over an already superb ensemble that included blossoming tenor saxophone genius, Lester Young. A swing sound that would change jazz was about to be born. ~ The Guardian: 50 Great Moments In Jazz, Count Basie ~ May 7, 2009 © The Guardian

Count Basie ~ Awarded a 1983 NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) Jazz Masters Fellowship.

Count Basie Orchestra ~ One O'Clock Jump (Basie) ~ Ranked #211 RIAA Top 365 Songs Of The Century in 2001.

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