William "Count" Basie (August 21, 1904 – April 26, 1984) was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. His mother first taught him piano and he started performing in his teens. Dropping out of school, he learned to operate lights for vaudeville and improvised to accompany silent films at a local theatre in his town of Red Bank, New Jersey. By 16, he increasingly played jazz piano at parties, resorts and other venues. In 1924, he went to Harlem, where his performing career expanded; he toured with groups to the major jazz cities of Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City. In 1929 he joined Bennie Moten's band in Kansas City, and played with them until Moten's death in 1935. That year Basie formed his own jazz 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. Many notable musicians came to prominence under his direction, including the tenor saxophonists Lester Young and Herschel Evans, the guitarist Freddie Green, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry "Sweets" Edison and singers Jimmy Rushing and Joe Williams. Basie's theme songs were "One O'Clock Jump," developed in 1935 in the early days of his band, and "April In Paris".
LEGENDARY RADIO BROADCASTS: This is the start of a new series of famous radio broadcasts – more fine artists to follow a.o.: Ella Fitzgerald, Mildred Bailey, Fats Waller, Cab Calloway etc. It was in the 30ies and 40ieswhen the radio was the most important media before television took over. There were many different radio broadcasts all over USA. Live programs from different concerts and studio recordings. Count Basie had nightly broadcasts from Reno Club in Kansas City. When John Hammond heard a broadcast he went to Kansas City to hear the band in person. He then decided to bring it to New York City where they opened at the Roseland. To be regular featured on the radio was the best promotion an artist could get. Storyville has found many fine radio programs with various artists that will be released in the Legendary Radio Broadcasts series. COUNT BASIE The first 15 minutes of the oldest preserved broadcast from Chatterbox, Pittsburgh, February 10, 1937 are included on this CD. The titles are Moten Swing, King Porter Stomp, I’ll Always Be In Love With You, You do the Darnest Things, Baby and Swinging At The Daisy Chain. Lester Young, Buck Clayton, Walter Page, Jo Jones and vocalist Jimmy Rushing are members of the band. Two other broadcasts are included. CBS "American Dances" the complete broadcast, New York, July 9, 1938 and also the complete broadcast from Southland, Boston, 1940. Dicky Wells, Harry Edison and Helen Humes are now in the band. BENNY CARTER After a three-year stay in Europe, Benny Carter Assembled and rehearsed a big band to perform at extended engagements at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. His nightly broadcasts from "The Home Of The Happy Feet" were recorded on at least ten different occasions. Five numbers, broadcast from the Savoy Ballroom on May 20, 1939, are included on this CD. Three other broadcasts are from Trianon Ballroom in California 1946 and Southern California Ballroom, late 1942 0r early 1943. The third is recorded in NBC Studios, Hollywood 1943. It is a swinging big band and Benny Carter can be heard on alto saxophone, trumpet and clarinet. Four of Benny Carter’s composition are also on the CD: Fish Fry, Back Bay Boogie, Opening Night and his theme song Melancholy Lullaby.