Photo by Alexi, available under Creative Commons license.
1924 to 1984
August 21, 1904 in Red Bank
April 26, 1984
Red Bank, NJ, United States
William "Count" Basie (August 21, 1904- April 26, 1984) was a jazz pianist, organist, composer, and bandleader. As a pianist, he had a distinctive and influential style (the song title "Splanky" is an onomatopoetic reference to the sound of his playing), equally at home in the barrelhouse and the concert hall. Willie "The Lion" Smith, James P. Johnson, and Fats Waller were among his influences. As a bandleader, he created an organization (built upon the remains of Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra) that was a favorite both of dancers and of vocalists such as Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and, of course, Billie Holiday.
Biography by Last.fm, available under cc by-sa license.