Pianist, bandleader, composer, William “Count” Basie was born on this day in 1904. Some of the greatest names in jazz passed through his band, from tenor legend Lester Young to singers like Bille Holiday, Jimmy Rushing, and Joe Williams, just to name three. Basie’s career spanned fifty years and did not shy from whatever music happened to be new at the time, recording albums like Basie Meets Bond and Basie on the Beatles.
The Music Division owns an extensive collection of Count Basie stock arrangements, and you can view photographs of Basie in the William P. Gottlieb Collection in the Performing Arts Encyclopedia. Remember the Count today with one of his signature recordings from the 1930’s Decca era like ”One O’Clock Jump” or “Jumpin’ at the Woodside, ” which those of a certain generation may remember as the theme song of Gene Gene, the Dancing Machine on The Gong Show. But don’t stop there – Basie recorded classic records throughout his career, like the joyous, brassy 1957 recording of “April in Paris” with the famous false ending, or the Neal Hefti arranged Atomic Basie.