William James “Count” Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer who lived from August 21, 1904 until April 26, 1984. He established the Count Basie Orchestra in 1935, and in 1936 he brought them to Chicago for a protracted stay and their debut recording. His innovations included the usage of two “split” tenor saxophones, a focus on the rhythm section, riffing with a big band, hiring arrangers to expand their sound, and others.
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