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Topic: Swinging with the Count Basie Orchestra at Benaroya Hall

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Orcas Island

    Swinging with the Count Basie Orchestra at Benaroya Hall

    Tom and I took our wives to hear the Count Basie Orchestra in concert at Benaroya Hall last week and we meet with some of the members of the band.

    The Count Basie Orchestra first debuted in 1935 and gained popularity in the 1930s and 1940s as one of the top big bands that defined the big stomping sound of Swing. And the well-attended crowd at Benaroya Hall in Seattle has demonstrated the sustaining popularity of the Count Basie Orchestra even long after the end of the big band era.

    The world-famous band consists of 19 performers. There were young members as well as some members that were selected and played with Count Basie himself. These guys can can still swing like crazy and they did justice to each song. They played some big band standards as well as holiday favorites. The performance was powerful. Each player showed their own unique style and incredible skills especially during their solos. What really impressed me was Butch Miles, the drummer for the group, who has to be one of the best drummers I have seen. The common qualities that ran through the show were intensity, precision, musicianship, and character

    The Basie band was led by Bill Hughes. Here is a roster of the Count Basie Orchestra Band Members: Bill Hughes, Bass Trombone & Leader; John Williams*, Baritone Saxophone; Doug Miller, Tenor Saxophone; Grant Langford, Alto Saxophone; Marshall McDonald, Alto Saxophone; Doug Lawrence, Tenor Saxophone; Clarence Banks*, Trombone; Alvin Walker, Trombone; Dave Keim, Trombone; Barry Cooper, Trombone; Scotty Barnhart, Trumpet; Michael Williams, Trumpet; Shawn Edmonds, Trumpet; Endre Rice, Trumpet; Butch Miles*, Drums; James Leary, Bass*; Will Matthews, Guitar; Tony Suggs, Piano; Melba Joyce, Vocalist.
    * worked or performed with Count Basie

    Here is the layout of the Basie Big Band:

    This may come in handy when setting up Big Band arrangements in JABB.

    It was good to see a span of several generations of fans in the audience. The combined forces of 19 skilled jazz musicians, who were so tight, playing shoulder to shoulder and having a good time was an experience I'll never forget.

    It is my hope the first Jazz and Big Band library may lead people to explore and appreciate big band music. I'm looking forward to seeing some of the Count Basie Band band members again next month at the International Jazz Educaotors Conference in New York.

    Drummer Butch Miles at the Marbella Jazz Festival

    Band Leader Bill Hughes

    Tom Hopkins and Drummer Butch Miles

    Basie Trumpeter Endre Rice

    Basie sax section at Marbella Jazz Festival

    Regent Theatre Celebration of Count Basie

  2. #2

    Re: Swinging with the Count Basie Orchestra at Benaroya Hall

    It's great that those guys are still at it - and Butch Miles is still around! - and interesting that they alternate the tenors and altos. It makes sense.

  3. #3

    Re: Swinging with the Count Basie Orchestra at Benaroya Hall

    It's great to hear another cool road report from Garritan and crew! You're spot-on about the "intensity, precision, musicianship, and character" of The Count Basie Orchestra. It's truly amazing to hear a group really get swing *that* right and pack a punch too. I decided to let the Big Band Jazz channel run on the Music Match (digital cable music service) run while I was doing house chores, and a few of the tracks made me stop what I was doing - to stand up and listen. I can imagine what it was like to experience live. Thanks so much for the pictures and for the reminder that it's all about staying connected to this incredibly powerful art form.
    Houston Haynes - Titan Line Music

  4. #4

    Re: Swinging with the Count Basie Orchestra at Benaroya Hall


    I am SO jealous - the Basie Band is one of my absolute favourites!
    Richard N.

    Finale 2003 to 2007 ~ Garritan GPO, JABB & Strad ~ Sonar 6PE ~ Kontakt 2 ~ WinXP Home SP2

    Athlon XP 2200 ~ 1.5 Gb RAM ~ M-Audio Sound Card ~ M-Audio 88ES MIDI keyboard ~ Evolution MK-461C

    Bach Strad LT16MG, LT36G, 42B + B&H Sovereign Studio Tenor Trombones ~ Holton 181 Bass Trombone ~ Getzen Bass Trumpet ~ Yamaha TR4335G Trumpet ~ B&H Euphonium

  5. #5

    Re: Swinging with the Count Basie Orchestra at Benaroya Hall

    I'm fortunate to have seen the Basie band on more than one occasion years ago when Basie was still alive. I was pleased to hear that the present band holds up the tradition extremely well. This sounds like a Basie band, it swings like a Basie band, and it has a full complement of wonderful soloists. Thanks to Gary and Marianne for a very enjoyable evening.


  6. #6

    Re: Swinging with the Count Basie Orchestra at Benaroya Hall

    I think one of the abiding legacies of the Basie band was that they were always precise, intense, and relaxed.It takes a lot of artistry and sublime technique, to blend these characteristics successfully.Thanks for the pics and info.

  7. #7

    Re: Swinging with the Count Basie Orchestra at Benaroya Hall

    Very cool- thanks for sharing!

  8. #8

    Re: Swinging with the Count Basie Orchestra at Benaroya Hall

    I saw Count Basie with orchestra, including Freddie Green in Atlanta in 1980. They played in a high school gymnasium next to Emory University. I'm still not sure why they chose that venue!

    Oh, and Freddie Green did NOT use an amplifier on his guitar, then or ever. (He played his Epiphone Emperor Regent that night, and not his usual Stromberg.)

  9. #9

    Re: Swinging with the Count Basie Orchestra at Benaroya Hall

    Gary and Tom
    It was fun to read and see your account of the concert. I have had occasion to hear the Basie Band a number of times over the years. Last time was a couple of years ago here in Toronto. Always a great kick to hear that sound, that simple and elusive sense of time and the fantastic energy and fun.

    Thanks for sharing the experience.

    Mac Pro 2X2.8 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xenon, 10Gb 800 MHz DDR2 FB-DIMM, OS10.6.4, Finale 2011, Digital Performer 7.1, Altiverb 6, Yamaha S90, Built-in audio, GPO, JABB, Garritan Authorized Steinway (Pro), Reason 3, M-Audio Ozone, Giovani, Symphonic Choirs, Kontakt 2, Vienna Symphonic Library. Website:http://www.paulread.ca

  10. #10

    Re: Swinging with the Count Basie Orchestra at Benaroya Hall

    From the Sibelius company newsletter:

    Sibelius and VIP Artists to Host Hands-On Clinics at the IAJE 2006 Conference

    Trombonist and arranger extraordinaire Dennis Wilson will run an interactive, hands-on session entitled "Arranging for the Count Basie Orchestra Using Sibelius" that will feature his techniques of teaching jazz arranging using Sibelius notation. Wilson began his professional career with Lionel Hampton as trombonist, arranger, and musical director. He has been a lead/solo trombonist for the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, The New Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and for ten years with Mr. William James "Count" Basie and his Orchestra. Session times: 10:00 am – 10:50 am and again at 1:00 pm – 1:50 pm.

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