A Salute to Count Basie

During the month of February, The Jonathan Channel has been celebrating Black History Month by highlighting the life and career significant African American contributors to the American Songbook. Last but certainly not least, this week we will focus on the incomparable Count Basie.

James "Count" Basie was born on August 21, 1904 in Red Bank, New Jersey. Basie learned how to play piano at home, his mother acting as teacher. By the age of 16, Basie had dropped out of school and devoted himself completely to music, performing wherever he could. In 1924, he moved to Harlem and began touring the country, soon working with Bennie Moten's band.


Count Basie and his Orchestra began to take over New York City. They stomped at the Savoy and played with the best names in jazz at Birdland. In 1957, they were the first black outfit to play at New York's Waldorf-Astoria. Their show was so popular, they had a weekly gig at the hotel for 4 months.

Episode Playlist:

Count Basie - April in Paris - Jazz Masters 2

Ella Fitzgerald - April in Paris - Ella Fitzgerald First Lady of Song: Count Basie Orchestra

Louis Armstrong - I've Got The World On A String - The Complete RCA Victor Recordings

Sarah Vaughan - Don't Look at Me that Way - Sings Broadway:Great Songs from Hit Shows

Billie Holiday - I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm - Billie Holiday First Issue: The Great American Song Book

All Of Me Sinatra At The Sands The Count Basie Orchestra
All Of Me Ella Swings Gently with Nelson
The Birth of the Blues Dinah!

Count Basie - All Of Me - Sinatra At The Sands

Ella Fitzgerald - All Of Me - Ella Swings Gently with Nelson

Dinah Washington - The Birth of the Blues - Dinah!

Count Basie - In a Mellow Tone - The Complete Roulette Live Recordings of Count Basie and His Orchestra (1959-1962)

Ella Fitzgerald - In a Mellow Tone - Ella Fitzgerald Sings The Duke Ellington Songbook

Louis Armstrong - You Turned The Tables On Me - I've Got the World on a String

Billie Holiday - Love For Sale - Billie Holiday First Issue: The Great American Song Book

Count Basie - Shiny Stockings - Jazz Masters 2

Ella Fitzgerald - Shiny Stockings - On The Sunny Side Of The Street

Ella Fitzgerald & Joe Williams - Party Blues - The Complete Clef/Verve Fifties Basie