Count Basie And His Orchestra

Count Basie's orchestras are remembered for several different things, from repertoire ("One O’clock Jump,” "April in Paris”) to singers (particularly James Rushing and Joe Williams), and one of his special virtues was his infallible good taste in picking tenor saxophonists, including Lester Young, Paul Gonsalves, Don Byas, and Eddie "Lockjaw” Davis. His piano playing was somewhat eclipsed by an excessive modesty, but he was the originator of a style remarkable for its melodic wit as well as for its stringent economy. This economy, however, was likely to spill over at any time into the muscularity of the Stride school, a habit he found invaluable in his role as a setter of tempos who was never known to make a mistake. Basie's great achievement was his uncanny success in bringing to the disciplines of a large group the ease and expansiveness which years ago might only have been found in the Kansas City joints of his youth.