Tuesday, 25 December 2007

jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson, has died aged 82

It is with deep sadness that I post this message. One of the worlds greatest jazz pianist, Oscar Peterson, has died aged 82.

The legendary jazz musician died on Sunday from kidney failure at his home near Toronto.

In a career spanning decades, Peterson performed at Carnegie Hall in New York and he found himself playing many of the artists he first heard as a kid, including Ella Fitzgerald, Lester Young and Dizzy Gillespie.

His awards and honours include a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement in 1997 and an International Jazz Hall of Fame Award. Canada had also bestowed upon him a Companion of the Order of Canada, his country's highest civilian award.

Oscar Pterson, You will be dearly missed
R.I.P. Oscar Peterson 1925 - 2007

Sunday, 18 November 2007

ronnie scott club

Born Ronald Schatt in East London, Scott began playing in small jazz clubs at the age of sixteen. he toured with Johnny Claes, the trumpeter, from 1944 to 1945, and with Ted Heath in 1946, as well as working with Ambrose, Cab Kaye, and Tito Burns. He was involved in the short-lived musicians' co-operative Club Eleven band and club (1948–1950), with Johnny Dankworth and others, and was a member of the generation of British musicians who worked on the Cunard liner Queen Mary (intermittently 1946–c. 1950) in order to visit New York and hear the new music directly.

In 1952 Scott joined Jack Parnell's orchestra, then led his own nine-piece group and quintet featuring among others, Pete King, with whom he would later open his jazz club, Victor Feldman, Hank Shaw and Phil Seamen from 1953 to 1956. He co-led The Jazz Couriers with Tubby Hayes from 1957 to 1959, and was leader of a quartet including Stan Tracey (1960–1967).

From 1967–69, Scott was a member of The Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band which toured Europe extensively and which also featured fellow tenor players Johnny Griffin and Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, at the same time running his own octet including John Surman and Kenny Wheeler (1968–1969), and a trio with Mike Carr on keyboards and Bobby Gien on drums (1971–1975). He then went on to lead various groups, most of which included John Critchinson on keyboards and Martin Drew on drums.

Scott was among the earliest British musicians to be influenced in his playing style by Charlie Parker and other bebop musicians. His playing was much admired on both sides of the Atlantic, Charles Mingus saying of him in 1961: "Of the white boys, Ronnie Scott gets closer to the negro blues feeling, the way Zoot Sims does."[1]

Despite his central position in the British jazz scene, Scott recorded infrequently during the last few decades of his career. He suffered periods of depression and, while recovering slowly from surgery for tooth implants, died accidentally from a mixture of brandy and prescription sleeping tablets - at the age of sixty-nine. At the subsequent inquest into his death, the coroner's verdict was "death by misadventure". (Wikipedia)

Video Of The Victor Feldman Trio featuring Ronnie Scott ~ Summer Love

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Duke Ellington at the Cotton Club

An incredible recording of Duke Ellington & His Cotton Club Orchestra, made in 1929. It recreates the atmosphere of a real concert situation at the Cotton Club. The band plays a medley, including:
1. Cotton Club Stomp
2. Misty Morning
3. Goin' To Town
4. Freeze And Melt

duke ellington it don't mean a thing

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29, 1899–May 24, 1974)
The Duke was a jazz composer, pianist, and band leader, heo has been one of the most influential figures in jazz. Duke Ellington's reputation has increased since his death and now more than ever, with youtube, people who would never have heard of duke ellington. There are of course many albums by duke ellington but one of the biggest duke ellington hits has to be 'it don't mean a thing'

So below is a true duke ellington classic jazz video.
it don't mean a thing by duke ellington

Friday, 16 November 2007

Cleveland "Cleve" Eaton With The Count!

Cleveland Josephus "Cleve" Eaton II was raised with an intense comprehensive musical background. He was playing his mother’s piano at the age of five, and turned his efforts toward the saxophone by the time he was eight. Eaton took up the trumpet two years later, and when he reached the age of fifteen, music teacher John Springer introduced him to the tuba and string bass.

Cleve played in a jazz group in college at Tennessee A & I State University (now Tennessee State University), where he earned his bachelor’s degree in music in 1960. He then moved to Chicago and toured with the Ike Cole Trio. He later performed memorable concert tours with top-notch jazz bands led by Larry Novak, Ramsey Lewis, and the legendary Count Basie.

Over the years, Cleveland Eaton became a consummate bassist, producer, composer, publisher, arranger, and head of his own Birmingham-based record company. As a recording artist, Mr. Eaton’s version of Bama Boogie Woogie became a phenomenal best seller in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, France, and Australia.


Cleveland Eaton is scheduled to be inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame on February 22, 2008. He was nominated to the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1993 and has a Bronze Star in the Walk of Fame. Eaton’s other numerous honors include his induction into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, the Playboy Jazz Poll, Canada’s Cultural Enhancement Award and the Achievement Award at the Count Basie Tribute Concert. He received the Governor’s Arts Award 1995 (Alabama) and the Don Redman Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004.

Cleve Eaton is a recognized name in the jazz world, as a producer, composer, arranger, and for his incredible performances with the Ike Cole Trio, Donald Byrd-Pepper Adams Quintet, the Larry Novak Trio, and over thirty recordings in his ten years with the Ramsey Lewis Trio, which included four gold singles, including Hang on Sloopy and Wade in the Water. There were four gold albums, including Solar Wind and Sun Goddess. (extract from Wikipedia.com)

Below~ A video of Cleavland Eaton, with Count Basie , Roy Eldrige, Duffy Jackson and Zoot Sims from the 1979 Kansas City 5 Special

Bassist Cleveland Eaton To Be Inducted Into The Alabama Music Hall Of Fame

Cleveland Eaton In my Opinion Is The Worlds Best Jazz Double Bassist In the World

Jazz bassist Cleveland Eaton, a veteran of the Count Basie Orchestra, the Ramsey Lewis Trio and innumerable sessions with other artists, will be inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in February.

The Alabama Music Hall of Fame induction banquet and awards show for Eaton and four other nominees will take place on Friday, February 22, 2008, at the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel and Spa at the Convention Center in Montgomery, Alabama. For more information about the ceremony: 256-381-4417 or www.alamhof.org.

A native of Fairfield, Alabama, Eaton now lives in Birmingham, where he performs with his group, Cleve Eaton and the Alabama All Stars. He began playing piano at age five, took up the bass at fifteen, and after earning a degree in music from Tennessee State University, he embarked on a career that has spanned more than four decades.

Eaton was nicknamed “The Count’s Bassist” during his six-year stint with the Basie band. He joined Lewis in the 1960s and appeared on 30 of the band’s recordings, including hits like “Hang On Sloopy” and “Wade in the Water.” Eaton’s own recording of “Bama Boogie Woogie” became a major hit in Europe and Australia. He has accompanied scores of other performers, including Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Minnie Riperton, Bunky Green, the Ike Cole Trio, and the Donald Byrd-Pepper Adams Quintet.

Eaton is also known as a producer, arranger, composer, publisher, and head of his own Birmingham-based record company. His other honors include: the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, the Playboy Jazz Poll, Canada’s Cultural Enhancement Award, and the Don Redman Lifetime Achievement Award.

For more information about Cleveland Eaton, visit http://www.clevelandeaton.com

Below is an awesome performance with legends, Cleveland Eaton, William Count Basie and Ella Fitzgerald. Enjoy!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

The Power Of Count Basie

One of the greatest jazz musicians of all time, has to be william count basie.

His music lives on with the count basie orchestra,I have added a recent video of the count basie orchestra, playing the beautiful, april in paris.

The video is very recent, it isn't the best, but it just amazes me what Count Basie has left behind.

The history of count basie has always fascinated me and i'm finding more and more information on the life of count basie.

Friday, 19 October 2007

My New Jazz Piano!

I finally got my new jazz piano!

It's a Yamaha digital YDP151, great sound.

I can't wait to get the piano set up, so I can start playing my jazz.

I'm probably going to redo some of my old jazz pieces, that i have on youtube.

Have a great weekend
Haydn Huckle

Jazz Unleashed

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Jazz Piano For Sale!

Well, I'm finally selling my old piano that I have been playing for 55 years!

It's been in my family for about 100 years! My grandfather brought the piano from new, it's first home was, westbury Avenue, Wood Green, London, from there it went to Aberdeen, Scotland, finally it came to Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, England and its been here ever since.

I love this old piano, but it's gotta go.

Although it sounds and looks good, I have been advised to get an digital keyboard, because I'm about to produce my own jazz piano improvisation video tutorials and the sound quality is perfect.

The new piano may not have the character of my hold piano, but hopefully I can attach myself to the digital piano, in the same way I did my old jazz piano.

Yours In Jazz
Haydn Huckle

PS Check the video Below and have a listen to my old faithful jazz piano
PPS CLICK HERE For My Ebay Piano Listing

Monday, 16 July 2007

Cole Porter's, "Night And Day"

Below, is my jazz piano improvised version of Cole Porter's, "Night And Day", probably Cole Porter's best known piece. I love jazz piano improvisation, hope you like the number.

Best Regards
Jazz Unleashed

, , ,, , ,

Monday, 18 June 2007

My Version Of Henry Mancini's, Days Of wine And Roses

I'm amazed at the amount of viewings my version of Henry Mancini's Days Of wine And Roses has had on youtube.

Several people have left some lovely comments and also reminded me how bad my piano is, it really is out of tune, as soon as I can afford a new piano, I will get one.

I have been looking on ebay, but they're so expensive, I know if I keep looking, I will eventually find one.

Thanks again for all kind words, I am only now realizing how fantastic the Internet really is, someone has offered to let me have a go on their grand piano, I can't wait .

Been looking all over the internet at some great, count basie, duke ellington and oscar peterson videos, jazz improvisation at its best, awesome jazz piano from all three of these jazz legends.

Anyway, enough rambling, speak soon.

Best Regards
Jazz Unleashed

, , ,, , ,

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Jazz Piano Improvisation

Here's my Jazz piano improvised version of the music number, ' The Second Time Around' hope you like it, my piano is sounding a bit flat and I intend to buy a better one, as soon as I can afford it. bye for now.
Jazz Unleashed

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Duke Ellington's, "C Jam Blues" (12 bar Blues)

My jazz improvised version of Duke Ellington's, "C Jam Blues" (12 bar Blues).

"C Jam Blues" (12 bar Blues) is a jazz standard composed in 1942 by
Duke Ellington and performed by hundreds of other jazz musicians
around the world. C Jam Blues could have originally come from Barney
Bigard,a clarinetist in Duke Ellington's Orchestra, in 1941.

Hope you enjoy this jazz piano number.

Jazz Unleashed

Tags ~ ,,,

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Cole Porter's, "Night And Day"

My jazz piano improvised version, of Cole Porter's, "Night And Day", probably Cole Porter's best known piece.

I love jazz improvisation, jazz piano to me is 'improvisation'. Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Oscar Peterson are three of the greatest jazz improvisation musicians ever.

Once again the emphasis is on , Chords, Harmony and the use of a lot of chord substitutes.I hope you like the my version of Cole Porter's, "Night And Day".

, and are three of my favourite .

Jazzunleashed is for and jazz enthusiasts alike. I hope you like my blog.

Jazz Piano

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Jazz Piano Caravan, written by Juan Tizol, performed by Haydn Huckle

Caravan, written by Juan Tizol, performed by Haydn Huckle. Juan Tizol (31 December 1900 - 23 April 1984) was a Puerto Rican trombonist and composer. He was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and moved to the mainland United States in 1920. He worked with from 1929 to 1944 and it was during this period that he composed Caravan and "Perdido". After that he worked with the Harry James orchestra in California which allowed him to see his wife more often. In 1957 he was a guest on The Show. He died in Inglewood, California on April 23, 1984.
, and are three of the greatest ever. I listen to the jazz greats all the time, the way to learn how to play is to take piano lessons, learn the basic piano chords, play piano scores, practice piano, then practice piano some more!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this number.
Jazz Unleashed

Monday, 26 March 2007

Jazz Piano Imoprovisation 'Days of wine And Roses'

I have put together this rendition of Henry Mancini's "The days Of Wine And Roses" which should appeal to and enthusiasts alike.
Once again the emphasis is on , Chords, Harmony and the use of a lot of chord substitutes.I hope you like the piece.

, and are three of my favourite . They are probably three of the greatest jazz pianists ever. I'm going to film a rarley played Count Basie number, called 'Blue and Sentimental' Written by Basie but not often heard.

Friday, 16 March 2007

Jazz Piano. Nice Work if You can Get It

George Gershwin's,' "Nice Work if You can Get It", lyrics by Ira Gershwin.

This is my version of Gershwin's "Nice Work If You Can Get it". Lots of improvisation,hopefully not too much!!! chords and harmony and again
lots of chord substitutes.I hope this rendition will appeal to Jazz Musicians and enthusiasts alike.

Jazz Unleashed

, and are three of the greatest ever. They certainly didn't play easy piano and it's most definitely not,' beginner piano!

The way to learn how to play is to take piano lessons,' learn the basic piano chords, play piano scores,' practice piano, then practice piano some more!
One day soon you could teach piano, develop your own piano course, you could even be the next Oscar Petersen!
If it's you like, there's no better instrument to play blues, than the .

Saturday, 10 March 2007

Jazz Chords, Harmony and Improvisation

For anyone who plays piano and would like get into playing , here are a few pointers which, hopefully will help you to achieve the aim of playing by finding lots of nice chords and harmony, and being able to apply these chords and harmony to tunes.

Having played Jazz for around forty five years I have found many nice chords which I have been able to apply to tunes with harmonic


It took me a long time many years ago to realize that I had to Orchestrate a tune rather than play the tune straight.

One good exercise is for you to is for you to sit at the piano and see what chords you can find and apply them.

Always remember a tune has to have a good front and back and take care of the middle.

Making a number swing is a different matter, but when it does happen it is the most wonderful thing.

One of the best examples of SWING that I have ever heard is the video clip of the Count Basie Orchestra at Montreaux 1979
featuring along with and playing " A TISCET A TASKET". THE ULTIMATE IN SWING!!!!!

This is one of a number of articles that I will be posting and which I hope will be of some help to you and I will be pleased to answer
any questions on this subject that you may ask.

Happy Jazz playing to everyone and thanks for the nice comments on my video postings.


Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Jazz Blues. Haydn's Blues

I hope you like this piece. I've called it, 'Haydn's Blues'

This is a number, which I have enjoyed playing for many, many years.

With this piece I try and get as near as posible to the sound, through the .

I hope you like this number.

Haydn Huckle

PS I can't begin to tell you how much I'm enjoying sharing my piano with and around the world.

PPS Thankyou for all the kind emails. It just makes me want to practice and produce more Jazz numbers.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Getting Sentimental Over You Performed by Haydn Huckle


Here's my rendition of 'Getting sentimental over you'.

You may notice that when I play I use a lot of chord substitutes or putting it another way, my own chords. As you probably know, it takes many years of practice to discover and tweek your own chord substitutes and way of playing.

I discovered my own way of playing through lots of hard practice and many years of gigging.

I'm enjoying sharing my piano with and around the world.

I hope you enjoy the piece.



Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Cleveland Eaton Probably The Greatest Jazz Bassist Ever!

One of the true greats! Cleveland 'Cleve' Eaton

What can I say about this wonderful bassist except to say that I consider "Cleve" to be one of the greatest ever.

His wonderful timing and swinging driving bass and improvisation are just mind blowing. at it's absolute best!

To illustrate his superb talent take a look at "Cleve" with Count Basie at Carnegie Hall March 20 1981 playing Bootie"s Blues featuring the great Booty Wood,and also the Kansas City Five clip working with Count Basie Zoot Sims and Roy Eldridge.

I would give my right arm to have the chance to play Jazz with this wonderful bassist and it must have been the ultimate honour for him to be asked to join the Count Basie Orchestra.

was born August 31 1939 in Fairfield Alabama.He played many giggs with the Ramsey Lewis Trio and later with the Count Basie Orchestra.His entertaining style has earned him great respect in the jazz community.

was raised with an intensive comprehensive musical background.He was playing his mother's piano at the age of 5. He then turned to Saxaphone by the time he was 8. Eaton took up the trumpet two years later and when he reached the age of 15,music teacher John Springer introduced him to the Tuba and string bass.

Cleveland played in a jazz group in college at Tennessee A&I State University(now Tennessee State University)where he earnrd his Batchelor's degree in music in 1960.

He then moved to Chicago and toured with the Ike Cole Trio. He later performed memorable concert tours with bands led by Larry Novac,Ramsey Lewis and the legendary Count Basie.

Over the years Cleveland Eaton became a consumate , producer, composer, publisher, arranger and head of his own Birmingham based record company.

As a recording artist Cleveland's version of became a phenominal best seller in the United Kingdom,Germany,Switzerland,France,and Australia.

Eaton's numerous honours include his induction into the , The Playboy Jazz Poll, Canada's Cultural Enhancement Award and the achievement award at the Count Basie Tribute concert.

He was nominated to the Alabama Music Hall Of Fame in 1993 and has a bronze star in the Walk Of Fame.

He received the Govenor's Arts Award in 1995(Alabama) and the Don Redman Lifettime Achievement award in 2004.

Eaton has played on notable recording sessions with nearly all genres,jazz with John Klemmer and Bunky Green, R&B with the Dells and Bobby Rush, pop with Minnie Riperton, Jerry Butler and Rotary Connection, big band with George Benson, Henry Mancini, Frank Sinatra, Joe Williams, Sarah Vaughan, Billy Eckstein and Ella Fitzgerald.

Eaton was dubbed "The Count's Bassist" during his 6 year stint and over 10 recordings with the Count Basie Orchestra.

Cleveland returned after 17 years on the road to Birmingham Alabama where he now teaches music and Jazz at the UAB's music department.

Still going strong, but Cleveland Eaton will go down in and indeed, history as one of the greatest 's ever!

Haydn Huckle

Thursday, 22 February 2007

Buddy Rich The Worlds Greatest Drummer

was born in 1917 Brooklyn New York and was without doubt the worlds greatest drummer,known
for for his vituoso technique,power,speed,and ability to improvise.

was born to Jewish parents.His talent for rhythm was first noticed at the age of one keeping a steady beat with spoons.

He began playing drums in vaudeville when he was 18 months old and at the peak of Rich's childhood career he was reportedly the second highest paid child entertainer in the world after Jackie Coogan.

At 11 he was performing as a bandleader.He received no formal drum tuition and went so far as to claim that tuition would only degrade his musical talent.He also never admitted to practising claiming to play the drums only during performances.

He expressed great admiration for,and was influenced by the playing of Chick Webb,Gene Krupa,and Jo Jones,among others.

He first played in 1937 with Joe Marsala,and then played with Bunny Berigan in 1938 and in 1939.

In addition to Tommy Dorsey, Buddy Rich also played with Benny Carter, Harry James, Les Brown, Charlie Ventura and the band, at the Philharmonic.

For most of the period from 1966 until his death he led a hugely successful big band.

Buddy Rich remained active until the end of his life.
Prior to heart surgery, when asked by a nurse if he was allergic to anything, he replied "YES-----COUNTRY MUSIC".

The great Buddy Rich, one of the greatest ever! died in 1987.

Friday, 16 February 2007

Count Basie

was born in Red Bank New Jersey in 1904 and took piano lessons from his mother.When he was in his late teens he moved to Harlem where he met Fats Waller, who taught informally.
In 1924 toured the vaudeville circuit as a soloist and accompanist to blues singers.

He eventually arrived in Kansas City.

In 1928 he joined Walter Pages Blue Devils and the following year he became the pianist with the Benny Motem band.

started his own band in 1935 after Moten died.This band included a number of Moten's band members.

In 1936 he moved the band from Kansas City to Chicago where the band did a recording session in association with John Hammond, and with the help of this gentleman, by the end of 1936 the band was playing in New York City where the band remained until 1950.

Many jazz musicians know the Band as"The band that swings".

The reputation that followed the Count Basie orchestra was helped very much by Count Basie's selected accents of his own .

"He never wasted a note!!!!!

Basie also showcased some of the best blues singers of the era ,Jimmy Rushing,Big Joe Turner,Helen Humes and Joe Williams.

Count Basie was able to hold on to his musicians for lengthy periods.
During the 1930s and 1940s musicians like Buck Clayton,Herschel Evans, Lester Young and the bands great rhythm section Walter Page, Freddie Greene and Joe Jones.

During the late 1940s Basie was forced to reduce the size of the band for a short while, when it seemed the Big Band Era had come to an end, but Basie reformed his 16 piece orchestra in 1952 and led it until his death in 1984.

The legendaryalso toured with the band and is well remembered for the 1963 album Ella and Basie.This is remembered as as one of Ella Fitzgerald's greatest recordings.

Basies band of the 1960s was helped by the wonderful arrangements of Quincey Jones.
also had a fruitful association with Basie. provided the punchy arrangements for the Basie band on Sinatras biggest selling album, Sinatra Live At The Sands.

I personally first saw the band in concert during the Bands tours of England during the 1960s
and I will list some of the band members that I can remember.The first tour of England included the wonderful Sarah Vaughn and Joe Williams.

Later tours were with 'Lamberts Hendricks And Ross' and on a third tour I remember Jimmy Rushing.

I appologise if I have missed anyone, but the main band members I remember were Frank Wess,Frank Foster,Marshall Royal, Charlie Fowlkes, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Al Grey,Bill Hughes,Thad Jones,Snooky Young, Don Rader, Freddie Greene, Eddie Jones, Sonny Payne and Sonny Cohn. Sonny Cohn played lead trumpet for many years and later went on to manage the band.

Count Basie died of Pancreatic Cancer in Hollywood, Florida on April 26th 1984.
We are left to celebrate a wonerful man and his superb Orchestra and hope the Orchestra will go on for another 50 years.

Bill Hughes is now directing the Orchestra and we wish him and the Orchestra every success for the future.

Haydn Huckle

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Jazz Piano

What is Jazz piano?

Having played Jazz piano for the last 45 years, I can only describe Jazz piano as a matter of improvisation of any tune, in other words being able to play a tune a hundred different ways. Not everyone can play Jazz.

You first learn to play piano by taking basic music lessons, and learning to read music, then progress into Jazz piano.

Probably the worlds greatest ever , is the wonderful . Improvisation and Swinging piano at its very best.

The amazing is another example of a great improvisor and swinger, working a wonderful Orchestra.

Having been taught piano with a classical grounding, I found I was Jazz orientated from an early age. I was soon Jazzing up my classical pieces which I was given to do, much to the consternation of my music teacher.

After just 5 years of tuition, I found myself in a position to go out gigging, first on drums, as I was also learning this instrument. Later on, I started gigging on piano with my trio.

I have now been playing for 45 years as a with combinations from trio to big band.
For anyone thinking of getting into playing Jazz piano I can highly recommend the life.

I have played just about every type of gig you can think of including my time on the road with various big bands. I have had a wonderful time, having been associated with hundreds of musicians, including some of the great .


Count Basie

Count Basie

His Early life

William James “Count” Basie was born on August 21,1904 in Red Bank, New Jersey to Harvey Lee Basie, and Lillian Ann Childs who lived on Mechanic Street. He had a brother, LeRoy Basie. His father worked as coachman for a wealthy family. After automobiles replaced horses, his father became a groundskeeper and handyman for several families in the area. His mother took in laundry, and was Basie’s first piano teacher when he was a child. He started out to be a drummer. But the obvious talents of another young Red Bank drummer, Sonny Greer, who was Duke Ellington’s drummer from 1919 to 1951, discouraged young Basie and he switched to piano. While he was in his late teens, he gravitated to Harlem, where he encountered Fats Waller who he was taught informally. [1] The Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank was named in his honor.

Basie toured the Theater Owners Bookers Association (T.O.B.A.) vaudeville circuit, starting in 1924, as a soloist and accompanist to blues singers. His touring took him to Kansas City, Missouri, where he met many jazz musicians in the area. In 1928 he joined Walter Page’s Blue Devils, and the following year became the pianist with the Bennie Moten band based in Kansas City. It was at this time that he began to be known as “Count” Basie (see Jazz royalty).
He started his own band in 1934, but eventually returned to Moten’s band. After Moten died in 1935, the band unsuccessfully attempted to stay together. Basie formed a new band, which included many Moten alumni.

New York City, and later years

Basie and band, with vocalist Ethel Waters, from the film Stage Door Canteen (1943)
At the end of 1936 he moved his band from Kansas City. They honed their repertoire at a long engagement at a Chicago club. In that city in October 1936 members of the band participated in a recording session which producer John Hammond later described as “the only perfect, completely perfect recording session I’ve ever had anything to do with”. By the end of 1936 they began playing in New York City where the Count Basie Orchestra remained until 1950.
Basie’s music was characterized by his trademark “jumping” beat and the contrapuntal accents of his own piano. Basie also showcased some of the best blues singers of the era: Billie Holiday, Jimmy Rushing, Big Joe Turner, Helen Humes, and Joe Williams. More importantly, Count Basie was a highly successful band-leader who was able to hold onto some of the greatest jazz musicians of the 1930s and early 1940s: Buck Clayton, Herschel Evans, Lester Young, and the band’s brilliant rhythm section, Walter Page, Freddie Green, and Jo Jones. He was also able to hire great arrangers that knew how to use the band’s abilities, like Eddie Durham and Jimmy Mundy.
The big band era appeared to be at an end, but Basie reformed his as a 16-piece orchestra in 1952 and led it until his death. Basie remained faithful to the Kansas City Jazz style and helped keep jazz alive with his distinctive piano playing.

Count Basie Theatre, Red Bank, New Jersey
By the mid 1950s, Basie Band had become one of the preeminent backing big bands for the finest jazz vocalists of the time. Joe Williams was spectacularly featured on the 1957 album One o’Clock Jump, and 1956’s Count Basie Swings, Joe Williams Sings. In 1942 Basie moved to Queens New York with Catherine Morgan after being married for a few years. He appeared as himself (along with his band) in the Jerry Lewis film Cinderfella (1960) and in the Mel Brooks movie Blazing Saddles (1974).
Ella Fitzgerald is sometimes referred to as the quintessential swing singer, and her meetings with the Count Basie Orchestra are highly regarded by critics. Fitzgerald’s 1963 album Ella and Basie! is remembered as one of Fitzgerald’s greatest recordings. With the ‘New Testament’ Basie band in full swing, and arrangements written by a youthful Quincy Jones, this album proved a swinging respite from the ‘Songbook’ recordings and constant touring that Fitzgerald was engaged in during this period. She toured with the Basie Orchestra in the mid-1970s and Fitzgerald and a much tamer Basie band also met on the 1979 albums Digital III at Montreux, A Classy Pair, and A Perfect Match.
Frank Sinatra had an equally fruitful relationship with Basie, 1963’s Sinatra-Basie and 1964’s It Might As Well Be Swing (the latter arranged by Quincy Jones) are two of the highest points at the peak of Sinatra’s artistry. Jones provided the punchy arrangements for the Basie band on Sinatra’s biggest selling album, the live Sinatra at the Sands.
Count Basie died of pancreatic cancer in Hollywood, Florida on April 26, 1984 at the age of seventy-nine.


One O’Clock Jump and Jumpin’ at the Woodside were among Count Basie’s more popular numbers. Basie was also known for his band’s version’s of April in Paris and Lil’ Darlin.
Jerry Lewis used Blues in Hoss’ Flat, from Basie’s Chairman of the Board album, as the basis for his own “Chairman of the Board” routine in the movie The Errand Boy, in which Lewis pantomimed the movements of a corporate executive holding a board meeting. (In the early 1980s, Lewis revived the routine during the live broadcast of one of his Muscular Dystrophy Association telethons.) Blues in Hoss’ Flat, composed by Basie band member Frank Foster, was also the longtime theme song of San Francisco and New York radio DJ Al “Jazzbeaux” Collins.
Basie and his band made a cameo appearance in Mel Brooks1974 comedy film Blazing Saddles.
He received one of the Kennedy Center Honors in 1981.
Basie was awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.
Basie is one of the producers of the “world’s greatest music” that Brenda Fricker’s “Pigeon Lady” character claims to have heard in Carnegie Hall in 1992’s Home Alone 2: Lost in New York.

Count Basie, being one of the greatest jazz musicians in musical history, will be inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2007.
Basie was also a world-renowned member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated.