Profile

Count Basie

Musician
Male
Born Aug 21, 1904
Hometown Red Bank, New Jersey
Died Apr 26, 1984
Death Place City of Hollywood

William "Count" Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. His mother first taught him piano and he started performing in his teens. Dropping out of school, he learned to operate lights for vaudeville and improvised to accompany silent films at a local theater in his town of Red Bank, New Jersey. By 16, he increasingly played jazz piano at parties, resorts and other venues.… Read More

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News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Count Basie.

  • Music Review; Tony Bennett At The Metropolitan Opera Review
    NYTimes - Sep 20, 2011
  • Calendar; New Jersey
    NYTimes - Sep 04, 2011
  • Calendar; Events In New Jersey
    NYTimes - Aug 28, 2011
  • Red Bank Issues Storm Warnings Redbankgreen
    Google News - Aug 26, 2011

Timeline

Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Count Basie.

CHILDHOOD

1904 Birth Born on August 21, 1904.

TEENAGE

1919 14 Years Old Though a natural at the piano, Basie preferred drums. Discouraged by the obvious talents of Sonny Greer, who also lived in Red Bank and became Duke Ellington's drummer in 1919, Basie at age 15 switched to piano exclusively. … Read More

TWENTIES

1925 20 Years Old 1 More Event
Basie toured in several acts between 1925 and 1927, including Katie Krippen and Her Kiddies as part of the Hippity Hop show; on the Keith, the Columbia Burlesque, and the Theater Owners Bookers Association (T.O.B.A.) vaudeville circuits; and as a soloist and accompanist to blues singers Katie Krippen and Gonzelle White. … Read More
1928 23 Years Old In 1928 Basie was in Tulsa and heard Walter Page and his Famous Blue Devils, one of the first big bands, which featured Jimmy Rushing on vocals. … Read More
1929 24 Years Old The following year, in 1929 Basie became the pianist with the Bennie Moten band based in Kansas City, inspired by Moten's ambition to raise his band to the level of Duke Ellington's or Fletcher Henderson's. … Read More

THIRTIES

1936 31 Years Old 1 More Event
That year Basie formed his own jazz orchestra, and in 1936 took them to Chicago for a long engagement and their first recording. … Read More
Basie had already signed with Decca Records, but did not have his first recording session with them until January 1937.
1939 34 Years Old …  In 1939, Basie and his band made a major cross-country tour, including their first West Coast dates. … Read More

FORTIES

1950 45 Years Old The big band era appeared to have ended after the war, and Basie disbanded the group. For a while, he performed in combos, sometimes stretched to an orchestra. In 1950, he headlined the Universal-International short film "Sugar Chile" Robinson, Billie Holiday, Count Basie and His Sextet.
1952 47 Years Old He reformed his group as a 16-piece orchestra in 1952. … Read More

FIFTIES

1957 52 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1957, Basie released the live album Count Basie at Newport. "April in Paris" (arrangement by Wild Bill Davis) was a best-selling instrumental and the title song for the hit album. … Read More
1959 54 Years Old With Billy Eckstine on the album Basie-Eckstine Inc., in 1959. … Read More
1962 57 Years Old Frank Sinatra recorded for the first time with Basie on 1962's Sinatra-Basie and for a second studio album on 1964's It Might as Well Be Swing, which was arranged by Quincy Jones. … Read More

LATE ADULTHOOD

1970 65 Years Old In May 1970, Sinatra performed in London's Royal Festival Hall with the Basie orchestra, in a charity benefit for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. … Read More
1973 68 Years Old By 2011, four recordings of Count Basie had been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, a special Grammy award established in 1973 to honor recordings that are at least 25 years old, and that have "qualitative or historical significance." … Read More
1979 74 Years Old She even toured with the Basie Orchestra in the mid-1970s, and Fitzgerald and Basie also met on the 1979 albums A Classy Pair, Digital III at Montreux, and A Perfect Match, the last two also recorded live at Montreux. … Read More
1984 80 Years Old Basie died of pancreatic cancer in Hollywood, Florida on April 26, 1984 at the age of 79.
Original Authors of this text are noted on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Count_Basie.
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