Simply put, Count Basie led the most swinging of the classic big bands. His youthful education in playing stride piano in New York was meshed with a deep immersion in the hard-swinging Kansas City jazz scene of the early 1930s. As Basie moved from sideman to bandleader, his tight-knit ensemble eventually came to rival Duke Ellington's group. The Basie orchestra's perfectly interlocking rhythm section provided a springboard for a succession of jazz giants--most notably tenor man Lester Young--to launch their solo excursions. Basie's big-band vision was so strong that his group continued for decades after his passing.
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