The Grammy Museum presents “Count Basie: The King Of Swing,” a new exhibit opening on Thursday, Sept. 29.
The exhibit will give visitors a glimpse into the life of the nine-time Grammy-winning jazz great with unique artifacts from the private collection of the Count Basie estate. The exhibit will be on display in the museum’s Mike Curb Gallery on the fourth floor through April 16.
“The Count Basie vaults are filled with a treasure trove of both personal and professional assets telling the story of the jazz icon,” said Joy S. Rosenthal, trustee with the William J. Basie Trust. “We are thrilled that the Grammy Museum will exhibit a few of these never-before-seen pieces for the public to learn more about the incredible life of Count Basie.”
Jazz icon Count Basie was born William James Basie on Aug. 21, 1904 in Red Bank, New Jersey. He is considered one of the greatest bandleaders of all time for blending the big-band swing sound and his unique style of fusing blues and jazz established swing as a predominant music style. Basie changed the jazz landscape and shaped mid-20th century popular music, earning the title “King of Swing.”
In 1937, Basie took his group, Count Basie and His Barons of Rhythm, to New York to record their first album under the name The Count Basie Orchestra. The orchestra had a slew of hits that helped define the big-band sound of the 1930s and 1940s.
Some notable hits included “Jumpin’ at the Woodside,” “April in Paris” and Basie’s composition, “One O’Clock Jump,” which became the orchestra’s signature piece.
Basie led the band for almost 50 years and recorded over 480 albums. He is credited for creating the use of the two “split” tenor saxophones, emphasizing the rhythm section, using arrangers to broaden the sound and layering vocalists. Basie was also recognized for his piano playing.
Basie made history in 1958 by becoming the first African-American to receive a Grammy Award. He has four recordings inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame – “One O’Clock Jump” (1979), “April in Paris” (1985), “Everyday I Have the Blues” (1992) and “Lester Leaps In” (2005). Basie died April 26, 1984.
The GRAMMY Museum is located at 800 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite A245. For information, call (213)765-6800, or visit www.grammymuseum.org.
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