Count Basie Orchestra live in Athens
With 17 Grammy awards, two Grammy Hall of Fame Awards and nine Downbeat Readers and Critics Poll Awards, the historic orchestra that bears the name of jazz legend Count Basie is coming to the Megaron-Athens Concert Hall on 2 November for a concert under the direction of Dennis Mackrel and featuring leading musicians.
American pianist Count Basie, whose real name was William Basie, was born on 21 August 1904 in Red Banks, New Jersey.
While other band leaders made their names as composers or soloists, Basie devoted himself completely to directing his orchestra. It took more than 40 years to perfect his band leadership style. He inspired numerous white swing bands, such as Benny Goodman's and Artie Shaw's, mainly because of the unique rhythm of his sound.
The Count Basie Orchestra's first lineup, which recorded the classic "One O'Clock Jump," included Jimmy Rushing (vocals) and Lester Young (tenor saxophone), among others. Billie Holiday, Elle Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra were among those who collaborated with Basie from time to time.
Although when he was born, the term "jazz" was yet unknown, by the end of his life his name held a prominent place on the list of greatest musicians of the genre. After all, he was one of the greatest pianists of the so-called "swing era" when the famous jazz orchestras were at their peak. He formed his own Big Band in 1935.
Count Basie continued to record until his death, meeting with great success and winning a total of nine Grammys, the last of which was for "88 Basie Street" at the end of his career.
He died 26 April 1984 in Hollywood. His name remains a point of reference, not only in the history of jazz, but in the history of all music.
Don't miss the historic Count Basie Orchestra on 2 November at the Megaron-Athens Concert Hall.