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Count Basie Autographs, Memorabilia & Collectibles

COUNT BASIE
Born: August 21, 1904 in Red Bank, New Jersey
Died: April 26, 1984 in Hollywood, Florida
Biography | show moreshow less
William "Count" Basie (1904-1984) is credited with introducing blues to mainstream audiences through his polished versions of blues rhythms. Basie and his Big Band had over 30 recordings in the Top 40 from 1937 to 1968. Taught piano by his mother, Basie began his career on the vaudeville circuit in the early 1920s. In 1927, the young musician was stranded in Kansas City, changing his life and career. Within two years, he joined Benny Moten's Kansas City Orchestra and became an important part of its rhythm section. Moten's sudden death in 1935 gave Basie his "big break." Along with Moten's nephew, the Count took over the group, which soon evolved into the Count Basie Orchestra. By the peak of the Big Band Era, he was a major factor in both that movement and in jazz circles. Basie also composed the band's signature tune, "One O'Clock Jump", now a jazz standard. His astute recognition of talent added to the band's perfection with musicians such as Lester Young and vocalists such as Billie Holiday. Basie also appeared in films, beginning in 1938. His last was a memorable scene with his orchestra in Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles (1974). The Count Basie Orchestra still tours today, playing the famous arrangements that Basie pioneered.

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