Swing University Count Basie: From Kansas City to Harlem Syllabus

Count Basie  Week 1 (September 19, 2017)

Early Basie Stride/Boogie/Swing (1904-1938)

In week one, we look at the music that inspired the young Count Basie, and explore some of his earlier recordings and bands. Throughout the class, we’ll listen to the music of Fats Waller, Walter Page’s Blue Devils, Bennie Moten’s Kansas City Orchestra, and trace the emergence of Count Basie orchestra and All-American rhythm section.

Please note: the September 19 meeting of this class will convene at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s administrative offices, at 3 Columbus Circle. These offices are located on Broadway between 57th and 58th streets. Email swingu@jazz.org for more information

Count Basie Week 2 (October 3, 2017)

Famous Door and the Swing Era (1938-1949) 

We explore the rise and life of the classic Basie band, listening to the Famous Door broadcasts with Lester Young, Sweets Edison, Dicky Wells, etc. (featuring Eddie Durham’s arrangements), as well as the 1940s Columbia and Victor recordings.

Count Basie Week 3  (October 10, 2017)

New Testament band (1950-1962)

Though the original Basie big band may have dissolved, Basie continued to record in a variety of smaller ensemble settings, before ultimately launching his “New Testament” band. In this class, we’ll explore the octet recordings of Basie’s, as well as his Verve albums and Roulette recordings. We’ll examine the new artists in his big band, as well as arrangers like Benny Carter, Neal Hefti, and more who contributed to the new sound.

Count Basie Week 4 (October 17, 2017)

Collaborations and All-Stars (1959-1984)

In our final week, we’ll look at the late period of Count Basie’s career, including his records with MGM-Verve and with Impulse! records. We’ll also look at his collaborations with singers like Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, and Ella Fitzgerald, as well as his jam sessions for Pablo Records with figures like Count Basie and Louie Bellson.