Jazz Artist of the Week
William James Basie "The Count"
William James "Count" Basie started his ensemble in 1935 in Kansas City, MO. He lead a version of the ensemble for over 40 years, becoming one of the most influential big band leaders of his generation. His "Kansas City Sound" was deeply influenced by the blues and many of his earliest compositions incorporated riffs and call and response elements. His band toured all over the United States and moved to New York in 1937. They made the Woodside Ballroom their home and had a famous battle of the bands with Chick Webb's band at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. WIth the decline in dance music, The Basie Band continued to evolve and change throughout the 1950's and the emergence of be-bop. Some of Count Basie's best loved recordings are during the 1950's and 60's when jazz music declined in popularity due to the rise of Rock n' Roll.