Music is nature's language. What it is telling you is to shut up for once and listen.


I have never seen anyone enjoy himself so much making music. I love musicians that smile when they have a creative spark and you can see it, but the count had a permanent grin



You cant sell news stories that have data and cautious predictions. Where is the panic? Where is the impending doom? C'mon people , give me something to work with here…

    Opinions / Science / Theory of Relative Ignorance  

..and as I was a yuppy marketing and advertising executive for the better part
of a decade, I am not really impressed with stories of selling your soul to the devil...

    Art & Culture / Music / Blues / Robert Johnson  
Count Basie - Somebody to count on

I have never seen anyone enjoy himself so much making music. I love musicians that smile when they have a creative spark and you can see it, but the count had a permanent grin, that in the beginning made me suspect it was a show. you know, the black boy has to smile wide when he is playing for us kind of thing.

It wasn’t uncommon so don’t look at me like that. But then I saw a couple of interviews, and as he was sitting on the piano talking, every time his fingers hit the keys he automatically had this grin on his face. It was like electricity. Play a phrase, smile, play a variation, start laughing as you do. The guy had fun!

I decided that I would be one of the biggest new names; and I actually had some little fancy business cards printed up to announce it,
"Count Basie. Beware, the Count is Here."
If you play a tune and a person don't tap their feet, don't play the tune.”

And man, did we tap our feet. Still do. Try singing a line from a count Basie piece without your foot automatically starting to jump by the beat. I dare you. (Pirates and other wooden leg holders need not apply)


I just think swing is a matter of some good things put together that you can really pat your foot by. I can't define it beyond that."


He is one of my favorite piano players of all times, he was sitting there with that famous grin on his face, getting wider as he got into the groove of the music, until it was only his ears that stopped it from going all the way around, popping the top of his head off, leaving the duke, the earl and all the rest far behind in the dust.

He was soft as silk, he was swift as a fox and he was swinging more than a couple with a midlife crisis in the seventies, and he was tickling those contrapuntal notes like nobody's business.


It's the way you play that makes it . . . Play like you play. Play like you think, and then you got it, if you're going to get it. And whatever you get, that's you, so that's your story."


But wasn’t the half of it, because his greatness was getting the right musicians and then infecting them with that smile. That was his real genius, the great arrangements written specifically for great players. It was an orchestra. That's a nice heavy word orchestra. Not a bad. Gravitas worthy of a count.


He commented that Bill Basie was a rather ordinary name, and further that there were a couple of well-known bandleaders named Earl Hines and Duke Ellington.

Then he said, `Bill, I think I'll call you Count Basie from now on. Is that all right with you?' I thought he was kidding, shrugged my shoulders and replied, `OK."


The name 'count Basie' might have been thrust upon him, but he indeed as royal as you can get. He wasn’t the king for one reason alone. Being king is no fun. Being a count is a hoot. And we can only thank his highness for his generosity, for sharing with us his smile, his music, and making our feet tap and tap and tap.


I'm saying: to be continued, until we meet again. Meanwhile, keep on listening and tapping your feet.”

All of me
Jumpin' At The Woodside
Basie Boogie
Slow Blues
Swinging the blues big band
Sweet Georgia brown