Friday, February 10, 7:30 p.m.
University of Dubuque's Heritage Center, 2255 Bennett Street, Dubuque IA
Nearly 30 years after his passing, pianist and bandleader William James "Count" Basie is an American institution that personifies the grandeur and excellence of jazz, and on February 10, his spirit will be reignited at the University of Dubuque's Heritage Center, with director Scotty Barnart's the Legendary Count Basie Orchestra performing alongside guest vocalist Carmen Bradford.
Over the years, the Legendary Count Basie Orchestra has won every respected jazz poll in the world at least once; has received 18 Grammy Awards; performed for kings, queens, and other world royalty; appeared in several movies and television shows; and performed at nearly every major jazz festival and major concert hall in the world. Among the ensemble's latest honors are the 2018 Downbeat Readers Poll Award as the number-one jazz orchestra in the world, and a Grammy nomination for their acclaimed recording All About That Basie, which features special guests Stevie Wonder, Jon Faddis, Take 6, and Kurt Elling. The recording followed their critically acclaimed 2015 release A Very Swingin’ Basie Christmas!, the first holiday album in the 80-year history of the orchestra. Released on Concord Music, the recording went to number one on the Jazz charts and sold out on Amazon, with its special guests including vocalists Johnny Mathis, Ledisi, pianist Ellis Marsalis, and the February 10 guest vocalist Carmen Bradford.
Count Basie himself, a jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer, was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, in 1904, and formed the Count Basie Orchestra in 1935. The following year, he took his ensemble to Chicago for a long engagement and their first recording, and went on to lead the group for almost 50 years, creating innovations such as the use of two "split" tenor saxophones, emphasizing the rhythm section, riffing with a big band, and employing arrangers to broaden their group sound. Many musicians came to prominence under his direction, including the tenor saxophonists Lester Young and Herschel Evans; the guitarist Freddie Green,; trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry "Sweets" Edison; plunger trombonist Al Grey; and singers Jimmy Rushing, Helen Humes, Thelma Carpenter, and Joe Williams. In 1958, Basie became the first African-American to win a Grammy Award, and he went on to receive eight others, with additional historic accomplishments including receiving (posthumously) the Presidential Medal of Freedom and having his likeness featured on a 32-cent stamp issued by the U.S. Post Office.
The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra and Carmen Bradford perform in the John & Alice Butler Hall of the University of Dubuque's Heritage Center on February 10, admission to the 7:30 p.m. concert event is $35-50, and more information and tickets are available by calling (563)585-7469 and visiting Dbq.edu/HeritageCenter.