From Billie Holiday to Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra to Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughan to Ella Fitzgerald, the Count Basie Orchestra has provided the supremely distinctive sound and swing behind some of the greatest singers of the modern age.
Directed by veteran trumpeter Scotty Barnhart, the 18-piece Count Basie Orchestra features a peerless array of instrumentalists with combined credentials that have topped the upper echelons of the international jazz world for decades. Current members still include trombonist Clarence Banks, hired all those years ago by Basie himself, as well as former members of Stan Kenton’s, Benny Goodman’s and Lionel Hampton’s ensembles.
Special guest vocalist is the remarkable Carmen Bradford, who has performed with artists including Tony Bennett, James Brown, Wynton Marsalis, Frank Sinatra and George Benson. Count Basie heard Bradford sing in the early eighties and immediately hired her as vocalist for his Orchestra, a role she has continued in to this day.
A special feature this tour will be the Orchestra’s tribute to the great Ella Fitzgerald and the immortal Louis Armstrong. The Basie Band had a strong history with both artists and their reverence for them will shine through in this homage to these two greats of jazz.
The tradition of excellence has continued beyond the Count’s passing in 1984 to make the Orchestra a permanent fixture in Down Beat and Jazz Times polls throughout the ’80s and ’90s. The latest of a total 18 Grammy Awards was bestowed as recently as their Count Plays Duke album of ’99.
Simply put, the Count Basie Orchestra is the real deal, a who’s who of the best swing players the world has to offer. For Australian audiences, this tour is a very special occasion and a rare chance to see a truly elite jazz ensemble staged in some of our most prestigious venues. Don’t miss these historic concerts.
“If you play a tune and a person don’t tap their feet, don’t play the tune.” – Count Basie
The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra plays the Canberra Theatre (Tuesday 31 July); QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane (Wednesday 1 August); Concert Hall – Sydney Opera House (Thursday 2 August); and Hamer Hall – Arts Centre Melbourne (Friday 3 August). For more information, visit: www.countbasieinconcert.com for details.
Image: Carmen Bradford with the Count Basie Orchestra (supplied)