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American pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer, one of jazz’s all-time greats.
Basie’s real first name was William, but he became ennobled in the mid-1930s when an announcer on a small-time radio station, before a live performance of his then-band, Barons of Rhythm at the Reno Club in Kansas City, decided to give him more style by calling him “Count” (in line with Duke Ellington and Earl Hines). The name stuck.
The hugely influential record producer and talent scout, John Hammond, heard one of their regular broadcasts on short-wave radio and went to Kansas City to check them out. With his support they moved first to Chicago in 1936, performing as Count Basie and His Barons of Rhythm and in January 1937 they made their first recordings, under their new name, The Count Basie Orchestra, with the Decca record label in New York. By the following year they had become internationally famous.Basie led the group for almost 50 years and was able to get many of the greatest instrumentalists and vocalists in jazz to be a part of his orchestra, including Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Sweets Edison, Joe Jones, Joe Williams, Snooky Young, Frank Foster, Thad Jones, Frank Wess, and Clark Terry amongst others.
This is a very fine souvenir programme (10.5" x 8.25") for Count Basie's 1962 tour of Britain, nicely signed in blue ink across a light area of the front cover. In very good condition.
The programme comes with the original advertising flyer (unsigned) for Basie's appearance at the Odean, Southend on the 17th April. This has been well looked-after by the collector and is in very good condition.