The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra
Scotty Barnhart, Director + Singer Brianna Thomas$28.50 – $43.50 Buy Tickets
The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra: 18 Grammy Awards, 20 Downbeat, JazzTimes readers & critics polls with special guest vocalist, Brianna Thomas.
2015 marked the 80th Anniversary of The Count Basie Orchestra. William “Count” Basie (1904-1984) started his orchestra in Kansas City in 1935 and proceeded to develop and maintain one of the greatest jazz orchestras in music history. With Basie’s meticulous attention to detail, his selection of the very best musicians and his making certain that every tune could be danced to, The Count Basie Orchestra soon became the favorite for everyone to listen and dance to with it’s irresistible Kansas City Swing beat.
The band released a new album, All About That Basie with special guests Take 6, Kurt Elling, Carmen Bradford, Jon Faddis, Wycliffe Gordon, Jamie Davis, Joey DeFrancesco and Stevie Wonder on September 14, 2018.
In the history of jazz music, there is only one bandleader that has the distinction of having his orchestra still performing sold out concerts all over the world, with members personally chosen by him, for over 30 years after his passing. Pianist and bandleader William James “Count” Basie was and still is an American institution that personifies the grandeur and excellence of jazz. The Count Basie Orchestra, today directed by Scotty Barnhart, has won every respected jazz poll in the world at least once, won 18 Grammy Awards, performed for Kings, Queens, and other world Royalty, appeared in several movies, television shows, at every major jazz festival and major concert hall in the world. The latest honor is the critically acclaimed release in 2015 of A Very Swingin’ Basie Christmas!, the very first holiday album in the 80 year history of the orchestra. Released on Concord Music, it went to #1 on the jazz charts and sold out on Amazon! Special guests include vocalists Johnny Mathis, Ledisi the band’s own Carmen Bradford and pianist Ellis Marsalis.
Some of the greatest soloists, composers, arrangers, and vocalists in jazz history such as Lester Young, Billie Holiday, Frank Foster, Thad Jones, Sonny Payne, Freddie Green, Snooky Young, Frank Wess, and Joe Williams, became international stars once they began working with the legendary Count Basie Orchestra. This great 18-member orchestra is still continuing the excellent history started by Basie of stomping and shouting the blues, as well as refining those musical particulars that allow for the deepest and most moving of swing.
William “Count” Basie was born in Red Bank, New Jersey in 1904. He began his early playing days by working as a silent movie pianist and organist and by eventually working with the Theater Owners Booking Agency (TOBA) circuit. It is also sometimes referred to as the “chitlin’ circuit” that catered primarily to the African- American communities in the South, East, and Mid-West. In 1927, Basie, then touring with Gonzelle White and the Big Jazz Jamboree, found himself stranded in Kansas City, Missouri. It was here that he would begin to explore his deep love of the Blues, and meet his future band mates including bassist Walter Page.