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Unformatted text preview: William "Count" Basie Count Basie 19041984 Pianist, Bandleader Early Years
Born in Red Bank, NJ Early years, played organ in church, drums Eventually NY stride pianist studied with Fats Waller Began traveling with bands in the 20's Landed in K.C. a city with many blues and jazz musicians during prohibition Bennie Moten Band Bennie Moten (drums) led one of the most talented bands in Kansas City one of the first to establish the "Kansas City Sound" Hired Basie in '26 Moten dies in 1936 Basie inherits the band, leads it for the next 48 years It is jazz influenced by the freedom and simplicity of the Midwestern, Kansas City style blues KC jazz was less elaborate less "busy" than east coast jazz, and it was more "laid back" (relaxed, lazy ish) than NY style KC jazz also emphasizes more improvisation soloists (Lester Young, Buck Clayton) emphasized swing and feeling over technical sophistication What is the "Kansas City Sound"? Head arrangements a common What is the "Kansas City Sound"? practice in all blues bands, also in KC Jazz: riffs and solos Listening ex.: "One O'Clock Jump" Basie the Pianist Unique manner of playing Light Succinct, economical, compact statements Precise choice of notes nearperfect, always "in control" and swinging Artfully used silence to pace his lines Basie video "Corner Pocket" Basie Video "Slow Blues" w/ Oscar Peterson Audio "Count `Em" arr. by Basie tpt player, Seattle native Quincy Jones Basie's rhythm section is the most influential of the era legendary for a quality of swing that has been emulated since The cohesive, smooth, relaxed style of swing the section established for the band was mainly responsible for the "Basie sound" Combines a laidback rhythmic feeling of Kansas City blues with the driving, energetic metronomic swing of NY swing bands Basie's Rhythm Section in 30's and 40's Walter Page Bass
One of the first masters of the walking bass Established pulse and swing feeling Strong, articulate sound with "life" in it, as opposed to early jazz players "dead thud" Jo Jones, drums Precise player Loose, assured manner Contributed certain cymbal techniques 1) using wire brushes 2) using hihat instead of bass drum to "drive" the rhythm Freddie Green, rhythm guitar Acoustic, unamplified guitar Played "rhythm guitar" not a lead soloist, such as Django Reinhardt Crisp strokes on each beat rhythm was unerringly steady, and propelled the swing feel Matched perfectly with Walter Page's walking bass rhythmically and harmonically "You did not hear Freddie, you felt the heartbeat." Basie's was a great live Band
"Jumpin' at the Woodside" Recorded live at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. Basie's band performed and recorded regularly in the 50's60's in Vegas, including several outstanding and highlyenjoyable records with Frank Sinatra. "Jumpin at the Woodside", like "One O'Clock Jump" features the band in a "riffs and solos" format. Here, the highenergy playing of tenor soloist Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis inspires the band into a spirited series of shout choruses a musical competition in which the audience becomes the winner. which the audience becomes the winner.
"Count `Em" arr. Quincy Jones The "Kansas City Sound" Few of the many jazz players were from KC, but the feeling, freedom and simplicity of the blues of KC influenced their jazz playing KC jazz was less elaborate than east coast jazz KC jazz was lighter and more "laid back" (rhythmically relaxed): also, soloists (Lester Young, Buck Clayton) emphasized swing and feeling over technical sophistication (they had tremendous technique, but solos weren't a vehicle for displaying it musicality was more important) 1938 Basie an unkown, until he took a risk, traveled to NYC with band for "cutting contest" (battle of the bands) with Chick Webb on Webb's home turf the Savoy ballroom The Basie Band Hits Big By many accounts, Basie's band "cut" Chick Webb's band by playing smooth, danceable, bluesy swing, with great soloists, while Webb played hot and fast. Webb had the reputation, so reviews in print said he won people in the audience had a different Greatest jazz (improvising) musicians in the Basie Band in 30's and 40's Lester Young Buck Clayton Basie Band: 19451984 After swing, big band era passes in mid 40's, Basie band dissolves for a time musicians like Lester Young develop their own bands. Basie builds new band, begins to perform "concerts" and "shows" as well as the traditional, occasional dance gigs New band members bring new approaches to soloing, ensemble but essential, signature sound and swing style of the band changes very little Listening: "Basie Straight Ahead" (1971) Basie in Vegas Band finds many opportunities in Las Vegas, performing shows of their own, and backing singers, esp. Frank Sinatra "Jumpin' at the Woodside" Live Version recorded at Sands Hotel ...
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- Spring '08