Count Basie

William "Count" Basie (August 21, 1904 - April 26, 1984) was a jazz pianist, organist, and bandleader and self-proclaimed "Count" of jazz.

William Basie was born in Red Bank, New Jersey. For several years young Bill Basie (as he was then known) toured the vaudeville circuit as soloist and accompanist to blues singers. In 1928 he joined Walter Page's Blue Devils, and the following year became the pianist with the Bennie Moten band based in Kansas City, Missouri. After Moten died in 1935, Basie became leader and started referring to himself as "Count Basie". At the end of 1936 he moved his band to New York City where the Count Basie Orchestra remained until 1950. The big band era appeared to be at an end, but Basie reformed a 16-piece orchestra in 1952 and led it until his death. Basie remained faithful to the Kansas City jass style and helped keep jazz alive with his distinctive piano playing.

Basie also showcased some of the best blues singers of the era: Jimmy Rushing, Joe Turner, and Joe Williams.

Count Basie died in Hollywood, Florida.

One O'Clock Jump and Jumpin' at the Woodside were among Count Basie's more popular pieces.


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