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Canadian Heritage

Count Basie


COUNT BASIE (pianist, bandleader, composer) was born William Basie on August 21, 1904 in Red Bank, New Jersey and passed away April 26, 1984. The revered Swing era bandleader made his reputation in the Kansas City scene of the 1920s and 30s which included the Blue Devils and as Bennie Moten’s pianist. The regal Basie formed his own band in the mid 1930s after Moten’s demise - members have included Lester Young, Jimmy Rushing, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Clark Terry, Thad Jones and Billie Holiday. The “Count” recorded with Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett among others. Joe Williams vocals in the 1950s brought commercial success with “Every Day I Have the Blues” and signature tunes such as “One O’Clock Jump” and “April in Paris” have cemented Basie’s renown. Recognition of his contributions feature many awards culminating in a Lifetime Achievement Grammy and an NEA Jazz Master.