William James "Count" Basie (August 21, 1904 – April 26, 1984) was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. In 1935, Basie formed his own jazz orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, and in 1936 took them to Chicago for a long engagement and their first recording. He led the group for almost 50 years, creating innovations like the use of two "split" tenor saxophones, emphasizing the rhythm section, riffing with a big band, using arrangers to broaden their sound, and others.
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Count Basie & Joe Williams: Count Basie Swings, Joe Williams Sings (Verve, 1956) On Christmas Day 1954, singer Joe Williams began his six-year tenure with the Basie juggernaut. His debut recording with the Count, which still stands as a landmark jazz vocal album, presented Williams' hip, modern take on the blues and gave Basie another big hit with "Every Day I Have the Blues.
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