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The Count Basie Orchestra bears the distinction of being the only jazz orchestra still successfully performing 30 years after its founder’s passing. Begun by the legendary pianist and bandleader William James “Count” Basie, the orchestra continues to be an American institution that personifies the grandeur and excellence of jazz.
Directed today by Scotty Barnhart, The Count Basie Orchestra, has won every respected jazz poll in the world at least once, won 18 Grammy Awards, performed for royalty, appeared in several movies, television shows, at every major jazz festival and major concert hall in the world. The latest honors are the 2018 DownBeat Readers Poll Award as the #1 Jazz Orchestra in the world, and a Grammy Nomination for their 2018 acclaimed recording, All About That Basie, which features special guests Stevie Wonder, Jon Faddis, Take 6, and Kurt Elling among others.
Some of the greatest soloists, composers, arrangers, and vocalists in jazz history such as Lester Young, Billie Holiday, Frank Foster, Thad Jones, Sonny Payne, Freddie Green, Snooky Young, Frank Wess, and Joe Williams, became international stars once they began working with the legendary Count Basie Orchestra. Two of the current orchestra members were hired by Basie himself in the 1980’s — guest vocalist Carmen Bradford, and trombonist Clarence Banks.
While many other members have been around for more than 15 years, the orchestra has also welcomed a slew of young performers including bassist Trevor Ware, trumpeters Brandon Lee and returning member, Shawn Edmonds, and new lead trumpeter Frank Greene III, pianist Glen Pearson and Robert Boone on drums, Joshua Lee on baritone saxophone and Markus Howell on alto saxophone.
This great 18-member orchestra is still continuing the excellent history started by Basie of stomping and shouting the blues, as well as refining those musical particulars that allow for the deepest and most moving of swing.
Opening: the Roosevelt High School Jazz Band, a treasured Seattle institution long grounded in the works of Basie, Duke Ellington, and their contemporaries. The festival salutes Roosevelt’s recently retired longtime director, Scott Brown, and welcomes their new band director Hannah Mowry.
About Earshot Jazz
Earshot Jazz cultivates a vibrant jazz community to ensure the legacy and progression of the art form by engaging audiences, celebrating artists, and supporting arts education.
*Earshot Jazz COVID-19 Policy: Earshot recommends that all ticket holders be vaccinated. Masks are required unless actively eating or drinking. Policy subject to change.
Presented by Earshot Jazz.