Count Basie

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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."
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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.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
She and Manning went on to tour with Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong and danced socially together until Manning's death.Miller, who lives in Florida and sports a sassy ombre pixie cut at 99, mused on the role of dance in her longevity.
Late in his life she formed a friendship with Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, from whom she bought his Count Basie bronze and who gifted her several plaster sculptures.
Amongst the instrumental tracks are Duke Ellington's Take The A Train, The Dave Brubeck Quartet's Unsquare Dance, Art Tatum's St Louis Blues, Coleman Hawkins' Body And Soul, Miles Davis' Bye Bye Blackbird, Charlie Mingus's Boogie Stop Shuffle and Count Basie's Moten Swing.
Synopsis: It's Harlem, New York in 1938 and eighteen-year-old Avery, an aspiring singer, is heard by Lester "Pres" Young, Count Basie's tenor saxophonist.
This remarkable recording is noteworthy with the additions of a truly stunning ensemble of talent featuring: being backed by the great Count Basie Orchestra, Billy Preston on keyboards and a guest spot by Esther Phillips.
What instrument did Count Basie play while leading his orchestra?
A veteran stagehand, Patton worked on shows like ''Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In,'' ''The Flip Wilson Show'' and ''The Richard Pryor Show.'' He moved onstage for a shuffling dance to Count Basie's ''Jumpin' at the Woodside'' on ''The Gong Show,'' the absurdist talent show hosted by Chuck Barris.
"C is for Count Basie, the jazz pianist and songwriter.
Donors could choose their giving levels, from being part of "the rhythm section" all the way up through bandleaders Count Basie and Glenn Miller--a cute idea--and they could also choose the programs they wanted most to assist, from homelessness prevention to at-risk youth to seniors to veterans.
Q I managed to get the signatures of the Count Basie band members at Newcastle station in 1954 - on the back of a menu!