The late Count Basie is one of the jazz immortals. The master of swing, whose beat was the subtlest and supplest of all the bandleaders, Basie featured some of the great soloists in jazz history while he sat unobtrusively at the piano, keeping time with his unmatched rhythm section, showing off the surging power of his brass players, and commenting wittily with a single chord or phrase.
A man and musician of reserve and modesty, Basie nonetheless will always be a landmark for his won achievements and for the jazz musicians who passed through his band. In this sociable and pioneering oral history of Basie and his band, Stanley Dance talks with the Count himself, Jimmy Rushing, Buddy Tate, Buck Clayton, Joe Williams, Jay McShann, Jo Jones, Dicky Wells, Lester Young, and a dozen others, who reminisce about each other, Kansas City jazz, and their legendary peers Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker.
With a rich flow of anecdote, opinion, and biographical information — and with striking photographs — this history both documents and assesses the legacy of Basie for American music.