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Primary Instrument: Piano

Born: August 21, 1904 | Died: April 26, 1984

Bill Basie studied music with his mother as a child and played piano in early childhood. He picked up the basics of early ragtime from some of the great Harlem pianists and studied organ informally with Fats Waller. He made his professional debut as an accompanist for vaudeville acts and replaced Waller in an act called Katie Crippen and her Kids. He also worked with June Clark and Sonny Greer who was later to become Duke Ellington’s drummer.

It was while traveling with the Gonzel White vaudeville show that Basie became stranded in Kansas City when the outfit suddenly broke up. He played at a silent movie house for a while and then became a member of the Walter Page Blue Devils in 1928 and ’29. Included in the ranks of the Blue Devils was a blues shouter who was later to play a key role as early male vocalist with Basie’s own big band, Jimmy Rushing. It was in fact the rotund Rushing who happened to hear Basie playing in Kansas City and invited him to attend a Blue Devil's performance. Basie soon joined the band after sitting in with them that night....
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Music

Featured recording “Basie's Beatles Bag”

Basie's Beatles Bag

Verve Music Group
2010
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    Eight Classic Albums

    Victor
    2012
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    The Ultimate Count Basie

    Victor
    2012
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    Anthology

    Victor
    2011
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    Atomic Basie

    Victor
    2010
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    Basie's Beatles Bag

    Verve Music Group
    2010
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    Jazz Collection

    Victor
    2010
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    Count Basie Orchestra: Swinging, Singing, Playing

    Mack Avenue Records
    2009
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