“Count” Basie, nato William Allen Basie (Red Bank, 21 agosto 1904 – Hollywood, 26 aprile 1984), è stato un compositore, pianista, direttore d’orchestra e bandleader statunitense di musica jazz.
William James Basie (August 21, 1904 – April 26, 1984) professionally better known as Count Basie, was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. His mother taught him to play the piano and he started performing in his teens. Dropping out of school, he learned to operate lights for vaudeville and to improvise accompaniment for silent films at a local movie theater in his home town of Red Bank, New Jersey. By 16 years old, he increasingly played jazz piano at parties, resorts and other venues. In 1924, he went to Harlem, where his performing career expanded; he toured with groups to the major jazz cities of Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City. In 1929 he joined Bennie Moten’s band in Kansas City, and played with them until Moten’s death in 1935.
In 1935, Basie formed his own jazz orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, and in 1936 took them to Chicago for a long engagement and their first recording. He led the group for almost 50 years, creating innovations like the use of two “split” tenor saxophones, emphasizing the rhythm section, riffing with a big band, using arrangers to broaden their sound, and others. Many musicians came to prominence under his direction, including the tenor saxophonists Lester Young and Herschel Evans, the guitarist Freddie Green, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry “Sweets” Edison and singers Jimmy Rushing and Joe Williams. Basie’s theme songs were “One O’Clock Jump”, developed in 1935 in the early days of his band, and later “April in Paris”.
William Basie, dit Count Basie, né le 21 août 1904 et mort le 26 avril 1984, est un pianiste, organiste et chef d’orchestre de jazz. Son orchestre s’inscrit dans la tradition de Kansas City, ville-berceau du middle jazz orchestral. Il était surnommé la machine à swing.
Son big band représente, avec celui de Duke Ellington, la quintessence du jazz classique dont il a porté la bonne parole pendant 50 ans dans le monde entier. Il a abordé tous les registres, du blues aux succès de Broadway en passant par les grands standards, toujours avec la même ferveur sincère.
Le Count Basie Orchestra aura été un tremplin pour nombre de musiciens majeurs de l’époque comme Lester Young, Herschel Evans, Buck Clayton, Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, Dicky Wells, Buddy Tate.