Despite the regal title that would later become his calling card, William ‘Count’ Basie grew up in the fairly regular world of Red Bank, New Jersey at the turn of the 19th century. His seven decade career saw him as a featured player in the wild and wooly world of Kansas City’s thriving jazz scene in the 1920s and as an internationally known pianist and band leader who had ensembles named after both the Old and New Testaments. This loving tribute to the man and his music was created by staff members at the Institute for Jazz Studies at Rutgers University for jazz fans everywhere, and it is a tremendous trove of material on this most beloved musician. The site’s contents can be accessed along the left-hand side of the homepage, and they include fine photo essays by another noted jazz musician, Milt Hinton, and by Dan Morgenstern, noted jazz historian and critic. The “Speaking of Basie” feature is quite a treat, as visitors can listen to recollections of the man himself from such peers as Oscar Peterson, Clark Terry, Louis Bellson, Frank Wess, and Helen Humes. The cherry on the top of this site is a video of a memorable performance by Ray Brown, Jimmie Smith, and the Count as they wind their way through the aptly-named “Trio Blues” at Montreux in 1977.
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