Count Basie
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

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Kansas City-based pianist William "Count" Basie (1904) organized the Barons of Rhythm in 1936, which soon hired tenor saxophonists Lester Young and Herschel Evans, trombonists Dicky Wells and Benny Morton, vocalist Jimmy Rushing, and (replacing Oran "Hot Lips" Page) trumpet player Wilbur "Buck Clayton" Dorsey, propelling them with the formidable rhythm section of Basie on piano, Freddie Green on guitar, Walter Page on bass and Jo Jones on drums. The pillars of that line-up were tested in George Gershwin's Lady Be Good (october 1936) and Saul Chaplin's Shoe Shine Boy (november 1936), credited to the Jones-Smith Incorporated, a quintet with Basie, Page, Jones, Young and a trumpeter that featured Young's first (revolutionary) solos. Basie's big band indulged in a bluesier style based on the riff (often played in unison) and a "call and response" counterpoint between the brass and reed sections, while emphasizing extended improvisation: One O'clock Jump (july 1937), a 12-bar blues that became their first hit, Topsy (august 1937), composed by Moten's guitarist and trombonist Eddie Durham, Jumpin' at the Woodside (august 1938), Stop Beatin' Round the Mulberry Bush (august 1938), Sent for You Yesterday (february 1938), Goin' to Chicago Blues (february 1939), Blue And Sentimental (june 1938), with Evans' most famous solo. Many of these were Rushing's personal showcases. Young contributed Taxi War Dance (march 1939) Lester Leaps In (september 1939), reminiscent of George Gershwin's I Got Rhythm, and Tickle Toe (march 1940). Evans died in 1939 and Young left the orchestra the following year, but the orchestra kept finding new talents and new hits, such as Open the Door Richard (january 1947) and Every Day I Have the Blues (may 1955), with new vocalist Joe Williams.

He died of cancer in 1984.

William Basie inizio' a suonare a Kansas City nel 1927, alternando militanze varie in diverse orchestre all' umile mestiere di pianista nei cinema. Soltanto nel 1936 riusci' a formare la propria orchestra, ma nel giro di pochi mesi trovo' un estimatore del calibro di John Hammond, che ne lancio' la carriera a livello nazionale. Con tre trombe, due tromboni, due sax alto, due sax tenore, pianoforte, chitarra, basso e batteria, Basie conquisto' New York, in particolare il Famous Door Club, che divenne il suo quartier generale.

Il carattere distintivo del suo stile furono i riff di Kansas City e le improvvisazioni dei solisti. Basie fece in modo di avere sempre i migliori cantanti blues e i piu' abili strumentisti del tempo.

(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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