Count Basie

Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
Related to Count Basie: Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman

Basie, Count

(William Basie) (bā`sē), 1904–84, American jazz pianist, bandleader, and composer, b. Red Bank, N.J. After working in dance halls and vaudeville in New York City, Basie moved to Kansas City, a major jazz center. There he joined Walter Page's Blue Devils in 1927, moving to Bennie Morton's band in 1929. He formed his own band in 1935, and for 40 years it has produced a distinctive sound marked by a powerful yet relaxed attack. Basie's provocative piano style is characterized by a predominant right hand. Among the many pieces he has composed for his band is "One O'Clock Jump."

Basie, (William) Count

(1904–84) jazz musician; born in Red Bank, N.J. He received his first piano lessons at age six from his mother and worked as an accompanist to silent films while still in high school. He studied organ informally with Fats Waller, whom he replaced in a New York vaudeville act called Katie Crippin and Her Kids. Between 1924–27, he toured on the Keith Circuit with the Gonzelle White vaudeville show until it got stranded in Kansas City, then a bustling center of jazz and blues activity. He played piano at a silent movie theater there, then spent a year with Walter Page's Blue Devils in 1928–29. When this band broke up, he began a five-year association with Benny Moten's orchestra, whose sidemen included blues singer Jimmy Rushing, trumpeter Hot Lips Page, and Lester Young, the highly innovative tenor saxophonist. Upon Moten's death in 1935, these musicians formed the nucleus of Basie's first band. Under his leadership they broadcast from the Reno Club in Kansas City, where a radio announcer dubbed him "Count"; through these broadcasts, he attracted the attention of the well-connected talent scout John Hammond, who set up his first tour. The band played a residency at the Grand Terrace in Chicago, then opened at the Roseland in New York in December 1936. Basie began a prolific series of recordings the following year, and in 1938 he played a long residency at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, where his reputation as leader of one of the premier swing bands was firmly established. He led his band on a continual series of U.S. tours throughout the 1940s, but in 1950 economic conditions compelled him to disband and front a sextet for two years. He formed a new 16-piece band in 1952 and began a long association with producer Norman Granz of Verve Records; this outfit established a new and enduring prototype for big bands and radio and television studio orchestras. In 1954, the band undertook the first of its many European tours. During the 1960s, the Basie orchestra accompanied various singers, including Frank Sinatra, Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennett, and Sammy Davis Jr., on recordings and concert tours. He made numerous appearances with all-star groups in the 1970s, but maintained a regular touring schedule with his band until his death. His autobiography, Good Morning Blues, written with Albert Murray, was published posthumously in 1985.
References in periodicals archive ?
In addition to the Ray Charles recording, SRI Jazz is releasing other previously lost Monad gems by such blues and jazz greats as Albert King, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Bill Henderson, Joe Williams, Clark Terry, Dexter Gordon, The Count Basie Orchestra and numerous others.
By the 70s she had remarried A&R man Bob 'eile, who suggested she should record an album with Count Basie, who said they should record Bessie Smith songs.
Count Basie was a jazz pioneer and one of the big-name band leaders from the USA.
Foster, winner of two Grammy Awards, started playing the flute and saxophone as a teenager, later moving to Michigan to become a part of the Count Basie Orchestra.
Nast is among those being touted for the hall of fame that includes presidents Grover Cleveland and Woodrow Wilson, jazz legend Count Basie, actor Jack Nicholson and others.
He was described by the legendary Nat Adderley as the greatest alto player in the world and his US recognition included invites to tour with the Count Basie Orchestra and The Ray Charles Big Band.
In its 27th year, Swing Shift is a 16-piece band inspired by the music of Count Basie.
In a career spanning seven decades, Peterson played with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.
During an illustrious career spanning seven decades, Peterson played with some of the biggest names in jazz, including Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.
The jazz age of the 1920s and 1930s saw them play and record with leading blackled jazz bands--including those of Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Louis Armstrong (who had taken up the trumpet in a New Orleans orphanage).
Internationally acclaimed jazz trumpeter and composer Scotty Barnhart is the perfect author for his definitive guide: he's the featured soloist with the Count Basie Orchestra and has performed with many greats over the decades.