He took the name "The Count" and formed his own group in 1936.
His sixth sense quickly assessed each sideman's potential as an ingredient for the distinctive sound of his group. The Count's manner earned the resect of his peers, the affection of his players, and contributed to the rapid success of the new group.
The Count Basie Orchestra played for decades, made many records, appeared in movies and won numerous awards. Basie performed with music legends such as Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald and more.
The Count Basie Orchestra has won 17 Grammy Awards.
Basie died in 1984, but his orchestra has continued to tour.
The Count Basie Orchestra today consists of 19 performers committed to upholding and advancing this "American Institution." The majority of the sound still swings from musicians handpicked by Count Basie himself.