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COUNT BASIE ORCHESTRA
May 28 2015
It’s been 40 years in the waiting…
The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra - 80th Anniversary Tour
The living embodiment of swing, one of the most elegant and irresistible sounds that ever shook the western world, The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra will bring their 80th Anniversary Tour to New Zealand in May. The tour will start in Christchurch on the 25th May before travelling to Wellington, Hamilton, and Auckland.
Directed by veteran trumpeter Scotty Barnhart, the big band 18-piece Count Basie Orchestra features a peerless array of instrumentalists with combined credentials that have topped the upper echelons of the international jazz world for decades.
From Billie Holiday to Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra to Nat King Cole, Sarah Vaughan to Ella Fitzgerald, the Count Basie Orchestra has provided the supremely distinctive sound and swing behind some of the greatest singers of the modern age.
Current members include a solid core of musicians hired by Basie, including saxophonist John Williams and trombonist Clarence Banks, as well as former members of Stan Kenton’s, Benny Goodman’s and Lionel Hampton's ensembles.
Special guest vocalist is the remarkable Carmen Bradford, who has performed with artists including Tony Bennett, James Brown, Wynton Marsalis, Frank Sinatra and George Benson. Count Basie heard Bradford sing in the early eighties and immediately hired her as vocalist for his Orchestra, a role she has continued in to this day.
The tradition of excellence has continued beyond the Count's passing in 1984 to make the Orchestra a permanent fixture in Down Beat and Jazz Times polls and, at last count, the recipients of a total 18 Grammy Awards garnered as recently as their Count Plays Duke album of '99.
Simply put, the Count Basie Orchestra is the real deal, a who’s who of swing spanning generations maintaining the flame of one of the world's best-loved sounds. For New Zealand audiences, this 80th Anniversary Tour is a very special occasion and a rare chance to see a truly elite jazz ensemble staged in some of our most prestigious venues. Don't miss these historic concerts.
"The greatest big band working today" - New York Post
"Purring one moment and roaring the next in trademark fashion" - Washington Post
“If you play a tune and a person don't tap their feet, don't play the tune" - Count Basie