Setting the stage with just a 'plunk' or two from his piano, Count Basie's big band in the '30s swung harder than any other, giving the world such talents as Lester Young, Buck Clayton and "Sweets" Edison. That trio, along with the Count himself, created a freewheeling beast featuring sizzling improvs and solos. Basie's 'Testament' bands of the '50s operated like soulful, well-oiled machines, and were reliant on arrangers like Neal Hefti, Quincy Jones and Frank Foster. The vocal platform was perfectly suited to Basie's '50s sound -- he had great success with superstar singers Joe Williams, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald.
Count Basie Concert Films
Count Basie Top Tracks
Adventures in the Kingdom of Swing
Runtime: 1 hr 2 minThis biography of musical legend Benny Goodman contains testimonials from various contemporaries and scholars, and offers several clips of the man in performance. Nearly two-dozen songs can be heard including "California, Here I Come," "A Fine Romance," "Why Don't You Do Right," "I've Got a Heart Full of Music," and "Bugle Cal Rag."
The Life of a Jazz Singer
Runtime: 1 hr 31 minAnita O’Day was one of the greatest of American jazz singers and this is her astonishing story—a journey of survival, and above all the endurance of her talent, told in a number of frank interviews with her and with those who knew her. Her career was long and eventful, spanning seven decades, her last album recorded when she was 84. Anita O’Day only ever wanted to be a singer and the film showcases performances that date back to the 50s with such artists as Gene Krupa, Roy Eldridge, Stan Kenton, Louis Armstrong and Hoagy Carmichael. She is shown teaching Billy Taylor how to be a jazz vocalist. She speaks candidly, always candidly, with Dick Cavett, Bryant Gumble and David Frost, with clips from interviews done on 60 Minutes and CBS This Morning. Bert Stern, commenting on his experience filming Anita perform Sweet Georgia Brown for his film Jazz on a Summer’s Day, said it was the greatest rendition of the song ever made. Anita was a musical genius and pioneer who broke reverse race barriers. She was commonly regarded as one of the top female artists of her time, together with Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan and Billie Holiday. The film portrays her as a woman who lived her life the way she wanted without ever looking back. She speaks openly about how she had to overcome great adversities, including a 20-year addiction to heroin and alcohol. She chose never to have children and married for only a brief period. She lived an often lonely life that was sustained only by her passion for music. Personalities talk about her quirky personality, while jazz critics and her few still living contemporaries speak of her extraordinary talent and how amazing it is that she continued to sing for so long. The film shows Anita on tour in Europe well into her eighties and her making that final recording, shortly before her death, the death of an icon.
Legends in Concert
Runtime: 43 minJazz Legends - Duke Ellington and His Orchestra (1929-1943) by Duke Ellington, includes a series of short films made in Hollywood featuring Ellington performing his biggest hits: Black And Tan (1929) directed by Dudley Murphy; Check and Double Check (1930) directed by Melville Brown; Symphony in Black (1934) directed by Fred Waller; Paramount Pictoral No.889 (1937); The Hit Parade of 1937; and RKO Jamboree No.7 (1943) directed by Jay Bonafield. .
Legends in Conert
Runtime: 41 minGene Krupa, an American jazz and big band drummer and composer, was well known for his highly energetic and flamboyant style. In this performance, many of his well known recordings are featured with some of the biggest orchestras of the time.