William Count Basie started the Count Basie Orchestra in 1935, in Kansas City, Missouri. Within a year, America was listening in on popular radio shows throughout the country to hear what would become “The Swingingest Band In All The Land”! A phenomena was born in 1935, that is still going strong today!
Since Basie’s passing in 1984, Thad Jones, Frank Foster, Grover Mitchell, Bill Hughes, Dennis Mackrel and now, Scott Barnhart have led the Count Basie Orchestra and maintained it as one of the elite performing organizations in jazz. The Count Basie Orchestra has won 17 Grammy Awards and 20 Downbeat and Jazz Times polls. More than any other big band in jazz.