Count Basie

Topics: Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller Pages: 2 (509 words) Published: September 20, 2011
The story of Count Basie is very much the story of the great jazz band that he led for close to 50 years (1935-1984), an orchestra with a distinctive sound, anchored by a subtle but propulsive beat, buoyed by crisp ensemble work and graced with legendary soloists still to date a catalogue of featured players which read like a Who's Who of jazz. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Count Basie band's achievement was his steadfast perseverance in staying strong with a 50-year music run with several honorable awards to match. He was a notable honorary member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Count Basie born William James Basie, an only child was born in Red Bank, New Jersey in 1904 to two musically gifted parents. His father, who was a gardener by profession, played horn, while his mother played the piano. His mother was his 1st piano teacher. At an early age Basie knew his calling. Music. He dropped out of high school and began frequenting Harlem’s night life. He was particularly fascinated with pianists who perfected their own loose style called the Harlem stride. Basie met Thomas “Fats” Waller, a great stride piano player. Waller informally taught Basie the intricacies of the organ and introduced him to other stride luminaries. Basie got his start performing in various vaudeville acts, touring around the country. Money was scared and he eventually went bankrupted. Basie was left stranded and broke in Kansas City but instead up quitting the biz, even with battling and overcoming spinal meningitis, Basie picked himself up. Basie found work in the city's movie theaters as a pianist. In late 1920s Basie joined various bands, epitomizing that Kansas City style of jazz. Along with developing his own sound, Basie's sound was characterized by a "jumping" beat and the contrapuntal accents of his own piano. At this the time Bill Basie began to make a name for himself, he was soon dubbed but other as “Count.” Soon Count Basie formed his own big band, The Barons of...
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