This Day in Black History: August 21, 1904

Bandleader William "Count" Basie was born.

Posted: 08/21/2012 07:00 AM EDT

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, music director and accompanist for blues singers, comedians and dancers but 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. On April 26, 1984, at the age of 79, he passed away from pancreatic cancer in Hollywood, Florida.

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