Count Basie was among the most important bandleaders of the swing era. He said all you have to do is tap your foot. William James "Count" Basie (; August 21, 1904 – April 26, 1984) was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. With the exception of a brief period in the early '50s, he led a big band from 1935 until his death almost 50 years later, and the band continued to perform after he died. A stocky, handsome man with heavy-lidded eyes and a sly smile, Basie was skilled performers (reflecting Basie's sound management) gave the Red Bank, New Jersey. After working briefly as house organist in a "and those tiny tinkling things. "April in Paris," which became the trademark of the band He was the arbiter of the big-band swing sound and his unique style of fusing blues and jazz established swing as a predominant music style. His He married Catherine Morgan on July 13, 1940 in the King County courthouse in Seattle, Washington. But the obvious talents of another young Red Bank drummer, Sonny Greer, band's theme song, "One O'Clock Jump," Count Basie. Born: August 21, 1904. This second-generation big band differed from the early one in that it depended on arrangers for its basic style, a smooth, rolling, highly polished swing style for which Neal Hefti ("Li'l Count Basie married twice first to Vivian Lee Winn and divorced around 1935. and Sarah Vaughan (1924–1990). Gender: Male. Count Basie, byname of William Basie, (born August 21, 1904, Red Bank, New Jersey, U.S.—died April 26, 1984, Hollywood, Florida), American jazz musician noted for his spare, economical piano style and for his leadership of influential and widely heralded big bands. When that band broke up in 1929, he Bennie Moten's band The Black Music Association honored Mr. Basie in 1982 with a gala at Radio City Music Hall. It continues as a 'ghost band'. Red Bank, New Jersey 132 West 138th Street. 1983. He was a big force in music. At a White House reception, President Reagan said that Mr. Basie was "among the handful of musicians that helped change the path of American music in the 30's and the 40's" and that he had "revolutionized jazz.". As a result, the band got a date at the Grand Terrace in Chicago. "heads"—arrangements worked out without planning in Not loud and fast, understand, but smoothly and with a definite punch.". Within less than six months, however, Mr. Basie was back at the keyboard. During his last years, he had difficulty walking and rode out on the stage He flicked out tightly economical, single-finger Is that all right with you?' Despite a brief disbandment at the beginning of the 1950s, the band survived long past the Big Band era itself and the death of Basie in 1984. Count Basie is considered one of the greatest bandleaders of all times. "I wanted my 13-piece band to work together just like those nine pieces," he explained. During the 1940s and '50s, Basie and his orchestra were one of the most popular big bands in the U.S., with hits like "One O'Clock Jump" and "Jumpin' at the Woodside." The musician most closely associated with Kansas City jazz, pianist and bandleader William Basie was born in New Jersey and came to Kansas City in the late 1920’s. to bite with real guts. era he also shared the less appealing one-nighters (a series of single traveled to by bus). To help it through the Grand Terrace engagement, Fletcher Henderson, who had provided Benny Goodman with Basie During the 1940's, many of the great jazz musicians of the decade passed through the band, among them Illinois Jacquet, Don Byas, Wardell Gray, Paul Quinichette, Lucky Thompson, J. J. Johnson, Paul Find a Grave, database and images ( accessed ), memorial page for Count Basie (21 Aug 1904–26 Apr 1984), Find a Grave Memorial no. "He commented that Bill Basie was a rather ordinary name and that By then a series of records by the Basie band had begun appearing (under a contract with Decca Records by which Mr. Basie was paid a total of $750 for 24 sides with no royalties--"probably the most In 1942, they moved to Queens. was a member of the Basie band in the 1940's. half a year later. so rode out on stage in a motorized wheelchair. The wicked Twitterati had him in the grave earlier today.But on Monday night, Jon Bon Jovi disproved rumors of his death at the Hope Concert at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank. band a permanent place in jazz history. a few moments before. of the band. New York: Random House, 1985. OBITUARY. There was a memorable concert at Town Hall several They were referred to as ", The jazz pianist George Shearing said that Mr. Basie's greatest trademark was the three sweet, soft notes that ended many of his great swing-era compositions. Count Basie’s brand of swing was nice and easy – like cutting butter. Even after the bop era of jazz had overwhelmed swing, Basie had success with smaller bands, … on the stand. Count Basie is considered one of the greatest bandleaders of all times. for the next quarter of a century. rehearsal and then written down later. Finally, Willard Alexander, a booking agent, in an effort to get the band on 52d Street, then the jazz center of New York, made a deal with the Famous Door, a shoebox of a room, 25 feet wide and about The loss of key personnel (some to military service), the wartime ban on Well, that was the last time I was ever introduced as Bill Basie. introductory notes, looked up at the drummer, nodded at the rest of the group and, when the combo took off, the musicians were playing as brilliantly and cleanly as they had been disheveled only Even in Harlem, it puzzled the aware audiences at the Savoy Ballroom. Count was 79 years old at the time of death. During his last years he had difficulty walking and He led the group for almost 50 years by JOHN S. WILSON. the Basie band. His wife, Catherine, had died in ', "The next day he invited me to sit in the pit and start working the pedals. Then I sat beside him and he taught me.". From then on, it was Count Basie.". NOTE - For "Count Basie And His Orchestra" and "Count Basie Orchestra", please use Count Basie Orchestra Count Basie (born August 21, 1904, Red Bank, New Jersey, USA - died April 26, 1984, Hollywood, Florida, USA) was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and … “Count” Basie, Jr. was a native of Kansas City, Missouri. The funeral service will be at noon on Monday at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, Ellington's (1899–1974), the most famous African American hired him. The band broadcast from the Reno Club on an experimental radio station. Catherine Basie died of a heart attack on April 11, 1983. Although for many, the big band era died down in the early '50s, Basie had a rebirth. From the Grand Terrace, it moved on to New York and Roseland Ballroom (playing opposite Woody Herman's new, young band) where listeners complained that it was out of tune (not a surprising reaction epitome of swing, of jazz that moved with a built-in flowing intensity. Basie’s band of the 1950s—along with Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, and Stan Kenton—kept the big band sound alive. In 1935, Basie formed his own jazz orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, and in 1936 took them to Chicago for a long engagement and their first recording. He then married Catherine Morgan in July 1940 in the King County courthouse in Seattle, Washington. I sat on the floor watching his feet and using my hands to imitate him. silent movie theater, he joined Walter Page's Blue Devils in William Basie was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, on August 21, 1904. I saw Count Basie himself perform in Melbourne Australia not long before he died, perhaps by a couple of years, can you please help me with a date of this tour, thanks. Then he joined a touring show headed by one Gonzel White, playing piano in a four-piece band. Read More on This Topic jazz: Count Basie’s band and the composer-arrangers And that was the Basie sound. The band will continue under the guidance of Aaron Woodward, an adopted son of Mr. Basie who has worked closely with the orchestra leader during the last year. dealing with the egos of his musicians. Location of death: Hollywood, FL. In fact, the only reason I enlarged the brass was to get a richer harmonic Despite a brief disbandment at the beginning of the 1950s, the band survived long past the Big Band era itself and the death of Basie in 1984. SL: An enthusiastic radio announcer gave him the nickname that stuck—and Count Basie became a big name in swing. The Basie band played at President John F. Kennedy's inaugural ball, and in 1965 toured with Frank Sinatra. They were divorced sometime before 1935. The band flopped at a Pittsburgh hotel that had never booked a jazz band before. For a year he played piano accompaniment to silent moves and then joined Walter Page's Blue Devils in Tulsa, (1935–45) was unquestionably Basie's greatest. next five years. superior arrangements (reflecting Basie's good taste) and the The key One Great Band.Count Basie will always be remembered..Too bad he passed away.. Cause of death: Cancer - Pancreatic. "I had dropped into the old Lincoln Theater in Harlem," Mr. Basie once recalled, "and I heard a young fellow beating it out on an organ. "One night the announcer called me to the microphone for those usual few words of introduction," Mr. Basie once recalled. It was a loose and swinging band, built around distinctively individualistic solos by Lester Born: August 21, 1904 In 1981, Mr. Basie was honored along with Cary Grant, Helen Hayes and other stars as a the personnel, and formed the first Count Basie Orchestra. I said the minute the brass got out of hand and blared and screeched instead of making every note mean something, there'd be some changes made. "He was a wonderful man. Mr. Basie, a short, stocky, taciturn but witty man who liked to wear a yachting cap offstage, presided over the band at the piano with apparent utmost casualness. Basie, Count. Buying a ticket or being a guest at a Pop-Up Stage show is an agreement to comply with all social distancing and mask guidelines set forth by local and state governments. onto every note, sitting behind him all the time. The In 1950, when big bands were falling apart, Mr. Basie cut down to an eight-piece group but by 1952 he was leading a big band once again. They have one child. Family Life. Though the Orchestra filed a bankruptcy petition in 1987, listing the Internal Revenue Service as its major creditor in the amount of $330,000, it continued to … "When they let you in the door," Ralph Gleason, the jazz critic, reported, "it was like jumping into the center of a whirlwind. there were a couple of well-known bandleaders named Earl Hines and Duke Ellington. Basie's band regularly worked some of the better 1928. recordings, the 1943 musicians' strike, the strain of Died: April 26, 1984 Count Basie. This familiar pattern was evident in the showcase the band's brilliant soloists. saxophonist Lester Young. One of the band's most popular arrangements, "April in Paris," was written in 1955 by Wild Bill Davis, a jazz organist who had originally developed it for his own small group. "Of course, I wanted to play real jazz. fame. He played piano with them, with one interruption, for the This stemmed primarily from the presence in the rhythm section, from 1937 to the present, of both Mr. Basie on piano and Freddie Green on guitar. Count Basie never stopped swinging over a 55-year recording career until his death … experienced so many changes in musical fashion, especially after the Hollywood, Florida. groups' recordings were of the highest quality, but in 1951 Basie Mr. Basie's band, more than any other, was the Then he said, 'Bill, I think I'll call you Count Basie from now on. fast-paced tunes designed to excite the audience. written by Basie himself in 1937. "flagwavers," To go on the road, Mr. Basie expanded his nine-piece band to 13 pieces. Jump" (his theme) and many others now considered jazz classics. He died of cancer in The history of the Count Basie orchestra is generally divided into two broad periods—the Old Testament band, which lasted from 1935 to 1950, and the New Testament band, which lasted from 1952 until Basie's death in 1984. Two of Basie's earliest Mr. Alexander agreed to lend the club $2,500 to install an air-conditioner if it would book And while that’s where Basie and his band rose to national fame, the jazz great’s origins can be traced to a house located just blocks away from the historic theater that today … He started out to be a drummer. Count Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. His group, Count Basie and his Cherry Blossoms, was an outgrowth of Bennie Moten's band in Kansas City. Mr. Basie's musicians had been playing "head" arrangements in Kansas City--treatments of the blues or pop tunes that were worked out As one critic put it, they "put wheels on all four bars of the beat," creating a smooth rhythmic flow over which Mr. Basie's other instrumentalists rode as though they were on a streamlined Darlin'"), Ernie Wilkins and Frank Foster ("Shiny Stockings") were among the most notable orchestrators. passages, directing his musicians with a glance, a lift of an eyebrow or a note hit gently but positively in passing. And it was a seven-day week. When the Page band broke up in 1929, Mr. Count Basie was an extremely popular figure in the jazz world for half a century. Good Morning Blues: The Autobiography of Count Basie. Another boost was provided in the late 1950s by the recording of cushion. But I wanted that bite to be just as tasty and subtle as if it were the three brass I used to use. There will be a viewing at Benta's Funeral Home, 630 St. Nicholas Avenue at 141st Street, on Sunday from 1 to 7 P.M. New York: Chelsea House, 1992. recipient of Washington's Kennedy Center honors for achievement in the performing arts. You never got tired of that business at the end.". Their only child, Diane, was born Feb… big city hotel ballrooms. The swing era band Hollywood, Florida, on April 26, 1984. With Mr. Basie's 13 men in full cry at one end of this elongated closet, the sound ricocheting off the walls and rocketing down from the low ceiling, no listener could escape the exhilarating power In doing so, we are operating in accordance with all local and state executive orders. African American bandleader and musician. "Can you imagine a man who kind of romps around the piano," Mr. Shearing said, returned to his first love—the big band—and it thrived. Birthday: August 21, 1904 Died: April 26, 1984. was the reworking of a standard tune—"I Got Scale for the musicians at the Reno Club, where beer was a nickel and whisky was 15 cents, was $15 a week for playing from 8 P.M. to 4 A.M., except Saturdays when it was 8 P.M. until 8 A.M. The Count Basie Orchestra is a 16 to 18 piece big band, one of the most prominent jazz performing groups of the swing era, founded by Count Basie in 1935 and recording regularly from 1936. I thought he was kidding, shrugged my shoulders and replied, 'O.K.' Count Basie Center for the Arts is dedicated to making your visit safe during these unprecedented times. expensive blunder in Basie's history," said Mr. Hammond) that included hit after hit--"Swingin' the Blues," "Jumpin' at the Woodside," "One O'Clock Mr. Basie's wife, Catherine, died in April 1983. He was a fine pianist and leader of one of the greatest jazz bands in history. Mr. Hammond spread the word about the Basie band, He was 79 years old and lived in Freeport, the Bahamas. Birthplace: Red Bank, NJ. (Lockjaw) Davis, Frank Wess, Jimmy Forrest and the blues singer Joe Williams. Through Mr. Waller, Mr. Basie got a job as an accompanist with a vaudeville act called Katie Crippen and Her Kids. years ago when a number of musicians, including Mr. Basie, were scheduled to perform in a variety of combinations. onenighters, and the bebop revolution of the mid-1940s all played a role By 1937 Basie's band was, with the possible exception of Duke Fletcher Henderson's band was playing at the Grand Terrace just before the Basie band arrived there. in Kansas City, Missouri. Jazz icon, Count Basie, was born William James Basie August 21, 1904 in Red Bank, New Jersey. "Lester Leaps In," were created as features for When Basie died of pancreatic cancer in 1984 at the age of 79, he left his $1.5 million fortune in a trust to provide for Diane. Kliment, Bud. Some time in or before 1935, the now single Basie returned to New York City, renting a house at 111 West 138th Street, Manhattan, as evidenced by the 1940 census. Dance, Stanley. Even more important was the fact that the Famous Door had national and local radio wires. The pianist in the combo gave up his seat to Mr. Basie who sat down, tinkled a few The Gonzel White show was stranded in Kansas City, Mo., a fateful location for Mr. Basie. parents, Harvey and Lillian (Childs) Basie, were both musicians. Remains: Buried, Pinelawn Memorial Park, Farmingdale, NY. With many of the other big bands of the swing on a motorized wheelchair which he sometimes drove with joyful abandon. He became an accompanist to the blues singers Clara Smith and Maggie Jones and he worked mid-1960s, when jazz lost much of its audience to other forms of music. The Lena Horne, Stevie Wonder, Joe Williams, Oscar Peterson and Quincy Jones were among the stars to pay tribute. The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra with special guest Joey DeFrancesco at New Trier's 36th Annual Jazz Festival "I wanted 13 men to think and play the same way. 'No,' I said, 'but I'd While he was in his late teens, he gravitated to Harlem, where he encountered Fats Waller. He and his band recorded with supported by sectional riffing (the repeating of a musical figure by the Count Basie died on April 26, 1984, at age 79 of pancreatic cancer in Hollywood, Florida. The broadcast was picked up one night by John Hammond, the jazz enthusiast who had discovered Billie Holiday and helped Benny Goodman start his band. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1980. factor in popularizing it was a series of repetitions of the final few bars when, as the orchestra seemingly came to the end of the piece, Mr. Basie held up a finger and called out, "One mo' His mother paid 25 cents per piano lesson for him when he was young. According to court papers, Diane is “severely retarded and only marginally communicative,” so Basie left two co-trustees he considered his close friends in charge of his estate and his daughter. It was on one of these broadcasts that Bill Basie became Count Basie. The songs were often designed to They had one daughter. played drums in his school band and took some piano lessons from his, Basie made his professional debut playing piano with vaudeville acts He was the arbiter of the big-band swing sound and his unique style of fusing blues and jazz established swing as a predominant music style. in a 14th Street dance hall. give my right arm to learn. positions (eventually CEO) with Count Basie Enterprises, Inc., the administrative operation behind The Count Basie Orchestra. 1664, citing Pinelawn Memorial Park, East Farmingdale, Suffolk County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave . He eventually relocated the Cherry Blossoms to Chicago, then to New York City. April 27, 1984. "He certainly made a notch in musical history," said Benny Goodman, 75 years old, the jazz clarinetist and bandleader. Sometimes the arrangement "Count.". Frank Sinatra (1915–1998), Ella Fitzgerald (1917–1996), On July 21, 1930, Basie married Vivian Lee Winn, in Kansas City, Missouri. African American bandleader and musician. A group that included some Basie sidemen was on stage, playing in a ragged, desultory fashion, when Mr. Basie arrived. While he recuperated his band continued to fulfill engagements, frequently with Nat Pierce taking Mr. Basie's place at the piano and sometimes with guest conductors such as the trumpeter Clark Terry, who Page, Mr. Basie and Mr. Rushing all joined Bennie Moten's orchestra, the leading big band in the Southwest, which became even stronger with their presence.

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