The 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.
The Count Basie Orchestra was founded in 1936 in Kansas City, Missouri and continues to this day, decades after its namesake bandleader died in 1984 at the age of 79. “This band is about retaining all of the things we love about Basie, but then letting it continue to adopt new material," said Grammy winner Gregg Field.
The orchestra’s new 12-track album, "All About That Basie," ranges from Adele’s “Hello” to Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and special guests include vocal supergroup Take 6 on a rendition of “Everyday I Have the Blues,” as well as Kurt Elling’s ebullient take of “Don’t Worry ’Bout Me,” a tune from the 1966 Sinatra At The Sands.
One of the high points of the recording is Basie alumni Carmen Bradford’s rousing rendition of Fats Waller’s “Honeysuckle Rose.” For vocalist Bradford—who joined the Basie band in 1983 and was the bandleader’s last hire—this selection, arranged by Benny Carter but previously never recorded, is a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, who, like Bradford, ranks along with Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan as Basie vocalists.
With the new album and a full touring schedule, Scotty Barnhart continues to adapt the Basie sound to the modern era, while staying true to its signature sound. "My job is making sure that everybody can dance to everything we play, no matter the tempo.”
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