William James "Count" Basie, jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. In 1935 he formed the Count Basie Orchestra and led the group for almost 50 years. In 1958 he became the first African American to win a Grammy Award, the first of nine. With four recordings inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, Basie has left a legacy that confirms his status as one of the leading musical influences of 20th century America.
Hear his narrated life story read by David Chalk and listen to his music performed by the 18-piece Phoenix Big Band featuring vocalists David Browne and Ruth Fahie.