Bill Hughes: Director of the Count Basie Orchestra
AAJ: How can readers keep track of the band?
BH: There's a Count Basie web site.
AAJ: Are the young people turning out to your concerts?
BH: We get most of the young people when we play the universities. It always gets those young people going "Hey! There's something new out there musically because they don't get to hear big bands play often. It knocks them over when they hear the Basie band.
AAJ: I think it's very important to bring young people into contact with jazz.
AAJ: Just to wrap it up, I ask people "Do you have a guiding philosophy of life, of spirituality? Because you know Coltrane said that music was his life, his spirit.
BH: My thing is, if we're gonna exist in this world, we're gonna have music. And if we're gonna have music, why not make it music that's joyful? That's my intent, every time we get up on that bandstand, is to try to get the guys to play as joyfully as they can to make people happy. That's my thing.
AAJ: Well, if my experience counts at all, you certainly fulfill that goal.
BH: Thank you. That's my main intent. It's not to glorify my name or anything. My thing is to glorify the Count Basie Orchestra and make it joyful.
AAJ: It sure works!
BH: Thank you. Every little bit of encouragement I get helps me.
AAJ: What do you envision for the group down the pike?
BH: Right now, we want to get a record out, a statement of where the band is right now. The sooner we can get that done, the more relaxed I'll feel. It's a bit of a struggle because with a big band there's always some financial entanglements. So that's what we want to work out.
AAJ: Do you have ideas about tours?
BH: Our tours take care of themselves. We're working most of the year. But we want to keep doing recordings to let the world know what we're doing.
AAJ: I may be getting sentimental, but I was very personally moved at that Kimmel concert and I've gotten some emails from others who felt the same way.
BH: That's great - it makes me and the band feel good.
AAJ: And this interview was a thrill for me.
BH: Well, I guess we'll be talking more as the future rolls around.
AAJ: We sure will.
Visit the Count Basie Orchestra on the web.
The Count Basie Orchestra and Vocalist Lizz Wright