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Count Basie

Born:

Bill Basie studied music with his mother as a child and played piano in early childhood. He picked up the basics of early ragtime from some of the great Harlem pianists and studied organ informally with Fats Waller. He made his professional debut as an accompanist for vaudeville acts and replaced Waller in an act called Katie Crippen and her Kids. He also worked with June Clark and Sonny Greer who was later to become Duke Ellington’s drummer. It was while traveling with the Gonzel White vaudeville show that Basie became stranded in Kansas City when the outfit suddenly broke up. He played at a silent movie house for a while and then became a member of the Walter Page Blue Devils in 1928 and ’29

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Article: So You Don't Like Jazz

Top Ten Kennedy Center Musical Moments

Read "Top Ten Kennedy Center Musical Moments" reviewed by Alan Bryson


It's a good bet that most of us have heard people say they don't like jazz, or even worse, drop the H-bomb: “I hate jazz." If you choose to engage them, the key is to tread lightly and tailor an approach that considers their tastes and sensibilities. This So You Don't Like Jazz column explores ways ...

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Article: Interview

Ulysses Owens: Big Band, Big Sound

Read "Ulysses Owens: Big Band, Big Sound" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke


Some jazz drummers, as remarkable as they may be and as successful as their careers are, just aren't suited to drive a big band. It's not for every percussionist. But every big band needs a good one or the effort will fall short. A ship needs a rudder. Ulysses Owens Jr., who started beating out rhythms ...

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Article: Interview

Shai Maestro: Human, All Too Human

Read "Shai Maestro: Human, All Too Human" reviewed by Scott Krane


ECM recording artist and erstwhile pianist for bassist, Avishai Cohen, Shai Maestro is both a firebrand and a lightning rod. Human, his sixth record as leader and second for ECM, features Jorge Roeder on bass, Ofri Nehemya on drums, and, making his debut in Maestro's combo, Philip Dizack on trumpet. Creamy and richly layered, Human flirts ...

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Article: Radio

Harold Danko, Count Basie & James Brandon Lewis

Read "Harold Danko, Count Basie & James Brandon Lewis" reviewed by Joe Dimino


From the young and talented \ we begin the 704th Episode of Neon Jazz with a track off James Brandon Lewis's Live at Willisau done some years back, but released in 2020. We also look into some impressive singers & performers releasing new music including Shelly Rudolph and Emi Makabe. We also include some big band ...

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Article: History of Jazz

Clifford Brown’s Trumpet and One Summer in Atlantic City

Read "Clifford Brown’s Trumpet and One Summer in Atlantic City" reviewed by Arthur R George


For 22-year-old trumpeter Clifford Brown, the summer of 1953 in jny: Atlantic City, New Jersey, was transformative. Playing with bebop elders, he cumulatively opened the door for what came next: a groove-oriented swinging style, in which small groups used structured arrangements like big bands, with room for improvisation, but less frenzy. It became known as hard ...

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Article: Extended Analysis

The Complete Louis Armstrong Columbia & RCA Victor Studio Sessions 1946-66

Read "The Complete Louis Armstrong Columbia & RCA Victor Studio Sessions 1946-66" reviewed by Skip Heller


Louis Armstrong officially returned to small band leadership May 17, 1947 via a triumphant concert at Town Hall that was less comeback than reaffirmation. It was even the dawn of his second great period, full of recordings that stood tall with his epochal 1920's output, and the subsequently-assembled Louis Armstrong and his All Stars would immediately ...

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Article: Interview

Adam Kahan: Capturing the Essence of Jazz in a Film

Read "Adam Kahan: Capturing the Essence of Jazz in a Film" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer


Too many are the documentaries produced and directed in a formulaic way using archival clips, photos, and hastily staged interviews that are intended to make a series of facts evident and bring out a few key points. At their best, they give a reasonably realistic illustrated depiction of people, places, and things. That is why a ...

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Article: Album Review

Rubén Blades: Salswing!

Read "Salswing!" reviewed by Jim Trageser


In the liner notes to this recording, veteran Latin pop singer Rubén Blades explains that Salswing! is meant as a demonstrative statement: About his own ability to grow beyond being a Panamanian singer, to show that musicians can speak to an audience beyond their own nationality, and to celebrate the stellar chops of the Roberto Delgado ...

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News: Recording

Bebop Bassist Will Lyle Readies Debut Album, 'l.A. Source Codes' Featuring 3 Generations Of Musicians

Bebop Bassist Will Lyle Readies Debut Album, 'l.A. Source Codes' Featuring 3 Generations Of Musicians

A source code is a piece of computer language that is readable by a human programmer. The talented young bassist-composer Will Lyle sees bebop and the jazz language as a musical source code that is kept alive by both the keepers of the flame and the younger players who push the music forward. Born in Southern ...


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