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David ROBERTS | all galleries >> Portraits > Count BASIE, jazz pianist
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Count BASIE, jazz pianist
31-DEC-2001

Count BASIE, jazz pianist

William (Count) BASIE played the piano from early childhood, taught by his mother. He graduated to studying with the Harlem jazz pianists, amongst them the legendary Fats Waller, becoming one of the early prodigies of Jazz. He achieved universal fame and counted as his contemporaries, Benny Goodman and Duke Ellington. He was the first leader of an American band to play at a Royal Command Performance in England.
He was in his seventies when I photographed him and I commented that it was difficult to believe that this spry, energetic man was so advanced in years. His reply, delivered with a grin, was, "It's the Music that keeps me young."
The following day, I presented him with copies of the photographs and he paid me an elegant compliment. "After looking at these photographs, Mr. Roberts, I can tell you - you made a count look like a king." At seventy-eight Count Basie died, leaving behind him a rich legacy of music and memory to those who met him and enjoyed his talent.

Nikon Coolpix 990
1/120s f/3.6 at 11.9mm iso100 with Flash full exif

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Guest 21-May-2007 00:05
Just got pointed to your site and am astounded. I saw Count Basie and his orchestra once in a small town in Oklahoma and I was seated 20 feet from him. He was the consumate showman. Thanks for sharing this. LJ