Remembering the birthday of Robert Johnson. May 8, 1911 – August 16, 1938,
Robert Johnson was an American blues singer and musician. His landmark recordings from 1936–37 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians.
Count Basie knew how to swing. From his early years learning piano from his mother to his teen years playing during parties and silent movies, through his decades on the road as the leader of the preeminent big bands, right up until his death 29 years ago today, Basie was a fantastic musician and innovator, always experimenting with ways to keep his big band music on the cutting edge.
I was fortunate enough to see the Basie band several times. My favorite was in the early 1970’s at a hotel in Rochester, NY., where I was a student at RIT, a jazz DJ on the school’s FM radio station, and a music reviewer and photographer for the school’s weekly magazine.
The Count was gracious enough to allow me to interview and photograph him after the last set. I was blown away!
The last time I saw him was at Lynn City Hall Auditorium in the early 1980’s. This time he came out on stage in a motorized wheelchair, but the music was still the best!
Here is the band in 1943 playing their signature song, “One O’clock Jump”!
The late Dave Brubeck’s classic jazz piece, ‘Take Five,’ is forever engrained in the brains of just about anyone who’s ever heard it. With it’s undeniably catchy saxophone and raucous drum lines, it’s nearly impossible to stop tapping your foot to the 1959 hit once it has invaded your ear canal.