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The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra - NOSPR

The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra

In the history of Jazz music, there is only one bandleader that has the distinction of having his orchestra still performing sold out concerts all over the world, with members personally chosen by him, for over 30 years after his passing. Pianist and bandleader William James “Count” Basie was and still is an American institution that personifies the grandeur and excellence of Jazz. The Count Basie Orchestra, today directed by Scotty Barnhart, has won every respected jazz poll in the world at least once, won 18 Grammy Awards, performed for Kings, Queens, and other world Royalty, appeared in several movies, television shows, at every major jazz festival and major concert hall in the world.

Some of the greatest soloists, composers, arrangers, and vocalists in jazz history such as Lester Young, Billie Holiday, Frank Foster, Thad Jones, Sonny Payne, Freddie Green, Snooky Young, Frank Wess, and Joe Williams, became international stars once they began working with the legendary Count Basie Orchestra. This great 18-member orchestra is still continuing the excellent history started by Basie of stomping and shouting the blues, as well as refining those musical particulars that allow for the deepest and most moving of swing.

In the 1920's and 30's, Kansas City was headquarters for the territory bands that played the mid and southwest. It was also ground zero for the heady mixture of blues, 4/4 swing rhythms and hot instrumentalists that were to become the standard bearers and precursors for the Swing Era and the underlying rhythm of Modern Jazz.

While the media of the period crowned Benny Goodman the "King of Swing", the real King of Swing was undoubtedly Count Basie. The basic fundamentals of Basie’s orchestra were and still are foot stomping 4/4 swing, an unparalleled use of dynamic contrasts, shouting the blues at any tempo, and just making one want to dance. The Basie orchestra evolved into one of the most venerable and viable enterprises in American music with the highest levels of continued productivity rivaling any musical organization in history.

Since Basie's passing in 1984, Thad Jones, Frank Foster, Grover Mitchell, Bill Hughes, Dennis Mackrel, and now Scotty Barnhart, have led the Count Basie Orchestra and maintained it as one of the elite performing organizations in Jazz.

The concert in Katowice at NOSPR will be an unforgettable event to which we cordially invite you.

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