Home Page
“Simplicity and Celebration: An Appreciation of Count Basie” by Albert Murray
A Tale of Three Cities: Red Bank, Kansas City, New York
First Testament Band Roars Out of Kansas City
1938 Famous Door Photo Essay, Frank Driggs Collection
Basie in the 40's: Time of Transition
1944 Columbia Records Photo Essay, Frank Driggs Collection
Basie in the 50's: Sixteen Men Swinging-Again
Milt Hinton Photo Essay, Sound of Jazz, CBS Television, December 8,1957
Chuck Stewart Photo Essay: The Basie Band and Joe Williams, Roulette recording sessions, 1957
Chance meeting: The Count and Coltrane
Tad Hershorn Photo Essay: Ella Fitzgerald and Basie in San Antonio, 1979
Count Basie Virtual Jukebox
They Speak of Basie: Joe Williams, Freddie Green, Jay McShann, Oscar Peterson, Albert Murray, Helen Humes, Louie Bellson . . .
Suggested Recordings and Readings
Finale: Video of Count Basie at Montreux, 1977

 

IJS and Dana Digital Media Lab 2004


 

 

Recordings: Retrospectives
The listings below are all compact discs and are currently available.
 

Count Basie in the early Kansas City days.

Basie Beginnings (1929-1932)
Bluebird 9768
This CD includes Bill Basie’s debut recordings with Bennie Moten and the Kansas City Orchestra, one of the leading territory bands of its day when Basie joined it as second pianist in 1929. By 1932, it had reached its peak, with Basie as one of its stars.

Count Basie: The Complete Decca Recordings (1937-1939)
GRPGRD-3-611 (1992)
This three-disc set has the first 63 recordings by Count Basie's Orchestra. Soloists such as Lester Young and Herschel Evans on tenors; Buck Clayton and Harry “Sweets Edison” on trumpet; singers Jimmy Rushing and Helen Humes, and the rhythm section of Basie, Freddie Green, Walter Page, and Jo Jones make this set the epitome of swinging big band jazz.

America's #1 Band: The Columbia Years

Sony 87110 (2003)
Recordings from this set range from live radio airchecks from the Famous Door, the immortal Smith-Jones 1936 Lester Young debut session, big band recordings from the late 1930s and early 1940s to octet recordings of 1950 when Basie temporarily disbanded for a couple of years.

   

 

 

 
 
 

The Indispensable Count Basie
BMG France RCA 66497
This two CD set released in 1992 includes the band’s recordings for RCA in between 1947 through 1950 around the time Basie disbanded and before he regrouped to begin recording for Clef Records.

Count Basie: The Golden Years
Pablo CD 4419
This four-disc set of music recorded between 1972 and 1983 highlights the Basie band’s output for Pablo Records and encounters with Milt Jackson, Benny Carter, Johnny Griffin, Zoot Sims, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Roy Eldridge, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Clark Terry, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Pass, Niels Henning Ørsted-Pedersen, Ray Brown, Louie Bellson, Oscar Peterson, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Big Joe Turner, and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson.

 

Recordings: Individual Albums

Benny Goodman Carnegie Hall Concert

Columbia CD G2K-40244
Basie, Lester Young, Buck, Clayton, Freddie Green and Walter Page participated in Benny Goodman’s historic concert on January 16, 1938.

From Spirituals to Swing: Carnegie Hall Concerts, 1938 and 1939
Vanguard 70169 (3 CD Set)
John Hammond’s groundbreaking From Spirituals to Swing concerts presented the span of African-American music from gospel to blues to jazz. Both concerts show the band in top form, with guests sitting in and small groups featuring Lester Young and Buck Clayton.

Count Basie Swings -- Joe Williams Sings
Polygram CD 519852
This Norman Granz-produced album from July 1955 captures the chemistry between Williams and Basie that catapulted the band back into the spotlight with such numbers as “Every Day (I Have the Blues),” “Alright, Okay, You Win” and “Roll ‘Em Pete.”

April in Paris
Verve CD 825575
Considered some to be an instant classic, this Verve album recorded in 1956 showed the smooth, modern face of the Count Basie Orchestra.


Poster for appearances in July 1938.

   


   

© Copyright 2004, Institute of Jazz Studies, Rutgers University Libraries