Legendary bandleader, composer, and jazz pianist William “Count” Basie was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, on Aug. 21, 1904.
As a young man, Basie toured the Vaudeville circuit as a solo pianist and music director. He would go on to record alongside legends including Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.
He is perhaps best known for his 1937 hit, “One O’Clock Jump,” which helped solidify his status as one of the great band leaders in the big band and swing genres.
Basie also recorded with Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., and Sarah Vaughan.
In 1984, at the age of 79, he passed away from pancreatic cancer in Hollywood, Florida.