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Count Basie

William James Count Basie (August 21, 1904 – April 26, 1984) was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer.



Count Basie: A Musical Biography of the Jazz Legend

Count Basie, the legendary jazz pianist, composer, and bandleader, is one of the most recognizable names in jazz history. He was a quintessential figure in the Swing Era, whose contributions to jazz music cannot be overstated. From his humble beginnings in Red Bank, New Jersey, to his journey to Kansas City, where he established his big band, Count Basie's life in music is a fascinating story to tell. In this article, we will take a closer look at the life and musical journey of Count Basie, including his most famous albums and songs, and significant influences.

William Count Basie was born on August 21, 1904, in Red Bank, New Jersey. His father was a mellophone player in a local vaudeville orchestra, and Basie learned to play the piano and organ from his mother. He left school at the age of 15 and toured on the vaudeville circuit before settling in Kansas City, where he started performing with local bands. In the late 1920s, Basie joined Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra as a pianist and arranger.

When Moten died in 1935, Basie started his own band by merging his musicians with some of Moten's group. The Count Basie Orchestra quickly became one of the most popular bands of the Swing Era, with hits like One O'Clock Jump and Jumpin' at the Woodside. Basie's style was entirely unique and often called Kansas City Jazz, which blended the improvisational style of New Orleans jazz with a more streamlined and bluesy sound, without the brassy sections typical in other big-band jazz orchestras.

While Basie's music was mostly instrumental, he did collaborate with many famous vocalists, including Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra. His collaboration with Sinatra produced some of his most famous albums, such as Sinatra at the Sands, which featured the hit song Fly Me to the Moon. Basie's orchestra also backed legendary artists such as Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Joe Williams, showcasing Basie's versatility in different musical styles.

Basie's most famous songs include April in Paris, Lester Leaps In, and I Left My Heart in San Francisco. April in Paris is a masterpiece composition that has become one of the most recognizable jazz tunes of all time, with its distinct horn melody and Basie's undulating piano accompaniment. Lester Leaps In is notable because Basie composed it about saxophonist Lester Young's improvisational style, and it's a high-tempo track that features a stellar tenor-sax solo. Lastly, I Left My Heart in San Francisco is a sentimental ballad that was later popularized by crooner Tony Bennett. Basie's arrangement showcases his prowess in creating smooth and elegant musical arrangements.

In conclusion, Count Basie is undeniably one of the most significant contributors to jazz music of the 20th century. His music and style continue to influence jazz musicians worldwide, and his sound remains relevant today. Basie's music was rooted in the blues, an influence that made his sound distinct from other big bands of his time. From his early days with the Bennie Moten's Orchestra to leading his own Count Basie Orchestra, Basie's impact on jazz music is immense and felt even today. So, put on some Count Basie tunes, sit back, and enjoy the musical genius that is The Count.
Tag: Count Basie, musical biography, best songs, playlist

The Good and Bad Sides of Count Basie's Music

If you are a fan of swinging jazz music, then surely you have heard the legendary sound of Count Basie. His distinct style - with its big band brass and smooth yet intense swingbeat - has captivated listeners for generations. However, that's not to say that everything about Count Basie is perfect: he did make some questionable song choices throughout his career! Nonetheless, there's no denying the genius behind his work – every tune he wrote was dripping with talent and overflowing with emotion. Today, we're here to explore both the good and bad sides of the man himself; prepare yourselves for an adventurous ride as we take on this musical maestro from a critical but loving perspective!

If you are a fan of swinging jazz music, then you've most likely heard the legendary sound of Count Basie. His distinct style - with its big band brass, and a smooth yet intense swingbeat - has captivated listeners for generations. But if we want to truly understand the greatness of Count Basie's music, we need to delve a little bit deeper. In this blog post, we will explore both the good and bad sides of the man himself; prepare yourselves for an adventurous ride as we take on this musical maestro from a critical but loving perspective!

There is no denying that Count Basie was a genius. His music was dripping with talent and overflowing with emotion. He was a master at creating a smooth, yet intense beat that would get anyone up and dancing. One of his most famous tracks, One O'Clock Jump, is a perfect example of this. The song starts out simple and builds into a complex, yet enjoyable rhythm that leaves listeners wanting more. Count Basie's talent for crafting a catchy tune is truly remarkable.

At the same time, however, there were some questionable song choices that Count Basie made throughout his career. Some of his music perpetuated harmful stereotypes, such as the song Jive at Five, which used derogatory language to describe African Americans. It must be acknowledged that Count Basie's music was a product of its time, and these unfortunate themes were not uncommon in his era. Yet, we must also recognize the problematic aspects of his repertoire and work to correct them.

Despite the controversy surrounding some of his music, it cannot be denied that Count Basie's impact on the jazz community was significant. He was one of the most influential bandleaders of his time and helped shape the sound of jazz for generations to come. His music inspired countless musicians and established him as a true icon of the genre. His contributions to the genre are truly unmatched.

One of the great things about Count Basie's music is that it can be enjoyed by people of all ages and musical backgrounds. From his bluesy piano solos to his catchy horn arrangements, there is something for everyone in his catalog. Younger jazz enthusiasts may appreciate his fusion of big band and swing music, while older listeners will appreciate the nostalgia of his earlier works. The beauty of Count Basie's music is that it transcends generational barriers and speaks to the soul of anyone who listens to it.

In conclusion, Count Basie's music is truly a mixed bag. There are some questionable song choices in his repertoire, but there is also a great deal of genius and musicality in his work. Despite his flaws, his impact on jazz music is undeniable, and his legacy continues to inspire musicians today. When listening to Count Basie's music, it is important to approach it from a critical but loving perspective, taking into account both the good and bad sides of his musical output.
Tag: Count Basie, music artist, best songs, artist career
1 - Doggin' Around
2 - John's Idea
3 - Exactly Like You
4 - Dark Rapture
5 - April In Paris
6 - Roll 'Em Pete
7 - Jive At Five
8 - I Only Have Eyes For You
9 - Pennies From Heaven
10 - My Kind of Girl
11 - Lester Leaps in
12 - Splanky
13 - Corner Pocket
14 - Shiny Stockings
15 - Blue and Sentimental
16 - Teddy the Toad
17 - Shout And Feel It
18 - Ain't It the Truth
19 - One O'clock Jump
20 - Jumpin' At The Woodside
21 - Topsy
22 - Flight Of The Foo Birds
23 - After Supper
24 - Duet
25 - Swingin' The Blues
26 - Fantail
27 - Every Tub
28 - Midnite Blue
29 - Double-o
30 - Li'l Darlin'
31 - Moten Swing
32 - Sent For You Yesterday
33 - Lil' Darlin'
34 - Rock-a-bye Basie
35 - Every Day I Have The Blues
36 - Jumping At The Woodside
37 - John's Idea
38 - Boogie Woogie
39 - Rusty Dusty Blues
40 - Out The Window
41 - Texas Shuffle
42 - Sleepwalker's Serenade
43 - Jingle Bells
44 - From Russia With Love
45 - 9:20 Special
46 - Basie Boogie
47 - Midgets
48 - Honeysuckle Rose
1999: Cool Too
1996: #
1996: Me And You
1996: Afrique
1994: Cute
1992: #NAME?
1992: #
1992: Jazztime
1991: Loose Walk
1975: Basie Jam
1974: The Bosses
1957: Basie