Sunday, July 29, 2007

Count Basie (1904-1984)

Sierra Club


Contrary to several conflicting stories, I got the name "Count" right in Kansas City in 1936 while at the Reno Club. I was known as Bill Basie at that time. One night, while we were broadcasting, the announcer called me to the microphone for those usual few words of introduction. He commented that Bill Basie was a rather ordinary name, and further that there were a couple of well-known bandleaders named Earl Hines and Duke Ellington. Then he said, "Bill, I think I'll call you Count Basie from now on. Is that all right with you?" I thought he was kidding, shrugged my shoulders and replied, "OK".


Please browse our Amazon list of titles about Count Basie. For rare and hard to find works we recommend our Alibris list of titles about Count Basie.


Sheet music: Count Basie
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Count Basie learned the blues as a youth in Harlem. He joined Walter Page's Blue Devils in 1928 and then Bennie Moten's blues band. He started his own band in 1935, after Moten's sudden death. The Count lead his own band until the 1970s.

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