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Count Basie
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    (August 21, 1904-April 26, 1984)
    Birth name was William Basie
    Leader of 'Count Basie & His Orchestra' (1935-50, 52-1984)
    Recorded 'One O'clock Jump,' 'Jumpin' at the Woodside,' 'Every Tub,' '9:20 Special,' 'Lester Leaps In,' 'April in Paris,' 'Lil' Darling,' 'Blues in Hoss' Flat' and 'Two O'clock Jump'
    Acted in 'Stage Door Canteen (1943),' 'Cinderfella (1960),' 'Sex and the Single Girl (1964)' and 'Blazing Saddles (1974)'
    Inducted into Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame (1981)
    He was given the nickname, 'Count,' just to compete with Duke Ellington.
    Without thoroughly reading the contract, he signed a record deal to record 24 sides a year for $750 a year with no royalties.
    In school, he was a terrible student.
    He was a heavy drinker and gambler.
    He had a sparse piano-playing style so he could easily reach for his drink during performances.
    He was a huge and erratic eater, once pouring ketchup all over a French gourmet meal.
    He was legendarily absent-minded and when traveling on tours, he wouldn't know where he was going, who he was playing for or how to get to the venue.
    He was uncommunicative and evasive when giving interviews.
    He led his own band for nearly 50 years, which continued to perform after his death.
    He never received royalties for his first several hit songs.
    He collaborated with some of the best jazz musicians and singers in the country, including Frank Sinatra, Jo Jones, Thad Jones, Buddy Rich, Lester Young, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday.
    He had a warm, gentle, and mild-mannered persona.
    He was a laissez-faire leader and gave his musicians and arrangers a lot of musical freedom.
    He toured successfully throughout Europe and Japan.
    He continued to perform and tour into old age, even while confined to a wheelchair.

Credit: Calvin

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