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December, 17, 2021
07:00 PM - 09:00 PM


375 AB


Special Performance


Conductor Thumb
Scotty Barnhart



Performer Details

Performer Bio Synopsis

In the history of Jazz music, there is only one bandleader that has the distinction of having his orchestra still performing sold out concerts all over the world, with members personally chosen by him, for over 30 years after his passing. Pianist and bandleader William James “Count” Basie was and still is an American institution that personifies the grandeur and excellence of Jazz. The Count Basie Orchestra, today directed by Scotty Barnhart, has won every respected jazz poll in the world at least once, won 18 Grammy Awards, performed for Kings, Queens, and other world Royalty, appeared in several movies, television shows, at every major jazz festival and major concert hall in the world. The latest honors are the 2018 Downbeat Readers Poll Award as the #1 Jazz Orchestra in the world, and a Grammy Nomination for their 2018 acclaimed recording, All About That Basie, which features special guests Stevie Wonder, Jon Faddis, Take 6, and Kurt Elling among others. It follows their critically acclaimed release in 2015 of A Very Swingin’ Basie Christmas!, the very first holiday album in the 80-year history of the orchestra. Released on Concord Music, it went to #1 on the Jazz charts and sold out on Amazon! Special guests include vocalists Johnny Mathis, Ledisi, our own Carmen Bradford and pianist Ellis Marsalis. A BBC TV produced documentary on Mr. Basie and the orchestra entitled Count Basie: Through His Own Eyes premiered on PBS in the US and UK in 2019 coinciding with the orchestra’s 85th Anniversary. It features interviews by Quincy Jones, Scotty Barnhart, Dee Askew, John Williams, and several other important members and associates of Mr. Basie and the orchestra. Some of the greatest soloists, composers, arrangers, and vocalists in jazz history such as Lester Young, Billie Holiday, Frank Foster, Thad Jones, Sonny Payne, Freddie Green, Snooky Young, Frank Wess, and Joe Williams, became international stars once they began working with the legendary Count Basie Orchestra. This great 18-member orchestra is still continuing the excellent history started by Basie of stomping and shouting the blues, as well as refining those musical particulars that allow for the deepest and most moving of swing. William "Count" Basie was born in Red Bank, New Jersey in 1904. He began his early playing days by working as a silent movie pianist and organist and by eventually working with the Theater Owners Booking Agency (TOBA) circuit. In 1927, Basie, then touring with Gonzelle White and the Big Jazz Jamboree, found himself stranded in Kansas City, Missouri. It was here that he would begin to explore his deep love of the Blues and meet his future band mates including bassist Walter Page. Walter Page's Blue Devils and Benny Moten's Kansas City Orchestra caught Basie’s ear and soon he was playing with both and serving as second pianist and arranger for Mr. Moten. In 1935, Bennie Moten died, and it was left to Basie to take some of the musicians from that orchestra and form his own, The Count Basie Orchestra, which is still alive and well today some 86 years later. His orchestra epitomized Kansas City Swing and along with the bands of Fletcher Henderson, Jimmy Lunceford, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman, Basie's orchestra would define the big band era. While the media of the period crowned Benny Goodman the "King of Swing", the real King of Swing was undoubtedly Count Basie. As the great Basie trumpeter Sweets Edison once said, “we used to tear all of the other bands up when it came to swing”. The Basie orchestra evolved into one of the most venerable and viable enterprises in American music with the highest levels of continued productivity rivaling any musical organization in history. With the April In Paris recording in 1955, the orchestra began to set standards of musical achievement that have been emulated by every jazz orchestra since that time. One of the things that set Mr. Basie’s orchestra apart from all others and is one of the secrets to it’s longevity, is the fact the Basie allowed and actually encouraged his musicians to compose and arrange especially for the orchestra and its distinctive soloists such as Snooky Young, Thad Jones, Frank Foster, and Frank Wess on flute, who recorded the very first jazz flute solo in history. The orchestra also began to become the first choice for the top jazz vocalists of the day including Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, and of course, Basie’s “Number One Son”, the great Joe Williams. During the 1960s and throughout the 1970s and into the 80s, the orchestra’s sound, swing feel, general articulation and style began to become more laid back and even more relaxed. As 30-year veteran trumpeter Sonny Cohn once stated, “this is a laid...back...orchestra....a...laid...back...orchestra”. With very few personnel changes, the orchestra members were able to blend into one sound and one way of phrasing that is now known as the “Basie way”. Since Basie's passing in 1984, Thad Jones, Frank Foster, Grover Mitchell, Bill Hughes, Dennis Mackrel, and now Scotty Barnhart, have led the Count Basie Orchestra and maintained it as one of the elite performing organizations in Jazz. Its next recording, Live at Birdland, was recorded at the historic New York club in January 2020 and celebrates the first 85 years of the orchestra as well as the 60th Anniversary of the original Live at Birdland recording. It will be released on Candid Records in 2021 and was produced by Scotty Barnhart. Current members include musicians hired by Basie himself: Frequent guest vocalist Carmen Bradford (joined in 1983) and trombonist Clarence Banks (1984). Long-time members include Doug Miller (1989, formerly w/Lionel Hampton), and members who have joined in the last 15-25 years; trombonists David Keim (formerly w/Stan Kenton), Alvin Walker and Mark Williams, guitarist Will Matthews, trumpeters Shawn Edmonds and Endre Rice, saxophonists Doug Lawrence (formerly w/Benny Goodman) and returning on lead alto, David Glasser. Newer members include bassist Trevor Ware, lead trumpeter Frank Greene III and trumpeter Brandon Lee, pianist Glen Pearson and the youngest members still in their 20s, drummer Robert Boone, baritone saxophonist Josh Lee, and Markus Howell on alto sax and flute.

The Count Basie Orchestra

Conductor's Bio

SCOTTY BARNHART is an internationally acclaimed Jazz trumpeter, composer, arranger, educator, author, two-time Grammy Winner, and Director of The Count Basie Orchestra. Prior to being selected Director in 2013, he was its featured trumpet soloist for 20 years, and in 2015 was Executive Producer of A Very Swingin’ Basie Christmas! , the very first Christmas recording in the history of The Count Basie Orchestra. It went to #1 on the charts. Under his leadership, the orchestra won the Downbeat Magazine Readers Poll as the #1 Jazz Orchestra in the world for 2018, and their 2018 recording, All About That Basie , featuring special guest Stevie Wonder, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Large Jazz Ensemble. Scotty appears on three critically acclaimed recordings with pianist Marcus Roberts and over twenty others with artists as diverse as Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, and Ray Charles. He has performed with Frank Sinatra, Wynton Marsalis, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Nat Adderley, Aretha Franklin, Barbara Streisand, George Benson, and many others, been featured in the Asian Wall Street Journal, performed at The Academy Awards, and is in demand as a soloist and lecturer on jazz history all over the world. In 2009, Unity Music released his solo CD, Say It Plain. It reached #3 on the Jazz Charts. Scotty is co-founder and Artistic Director of The Florida Jazz and Blues Festival, and Professor of Jazz Trumpet with tenure at Florida State University, where two of his former students won 1st place in the National Jazz Trumpet Competition. His groundbreaking book, The World of Jazz Trumpet – a Comprehensive History and Practical Philosophy , was published in December 2005 to rave reviews. He is a graduate of Florida A&M University with a degree in Music Education, and in 2017 he was honored as a distinguished alumnus with a permanent plaque and photo being placed within the Gallery of Distinction in the FAMU Department of Music. He has appeared as guest conductor and lecturer at such prestigious institutions at The Juilliard School of Music and others and is profiled in the book Trumpet Kings, which places him among the greatest jazz trumpeters in history. In 2019, he formed The Scotty Barnhart Orchestra, with its debut performance being The Governor’s Inaugural Ball. He resides in Tallahassee, Florida.