The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra

William Count Basie started the Count Basie Orchestra in 1935, in Kansas City, Missouri. Within a year, Americans were listening in on popular radio shows throughout the country to hear what would become “The Swingingest Band in All The Land!”

The phenomenon that was born in 1935 is still going strong today, with many of the current band members having been hired by Basie himself.

Since Basie’s passing in 1984, Thad Jones, Frank Foster, Grover Mitchell, Bill Hughes, and now Dennis Mackrel have led the Count Basie Orchestra and maintained it as one of the elite performing organizations in jazz. The Count Basie Orchestra has won 17 Grammy Awards, and 20 Downbeat and Jazz Times reader polls….more than any other big band in jazz.

But it’s the irreducible cocktail of smooth, rich, brassy goodness that makes this band truly “legendary”.



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