This year 2015, marks the 80th Anniversary of The Count Basie Orchestra. William “Count Basie” (1904-1984) started his orchestra in Kansas City in 1935, and proceeded to develop and maintain one of the greatest jazz orchestras in music history. With Mr. Basie’s meticulous attention to detail, selecting the very best musicians, and making sure that every tune could be danced to, The Count Basie Orchestra soon became the favorite for everyone to listen and dance to with it’s irresistible Kansas City Swing beat.

Count Basie was able to get many of the greatest instrumentalists and vocalists in jazz to be a part of his orchestra, including Billie Holiday, Lester Young, Sweets Edison, Joe Jones, Joe Williams, Snooky Young, Frank Foster, Thad Jones, Frank Wess, and Clark Terry amongst others.

The orchestra has played many times for Kings, Queens, and other members of Royalty around the world. Appeared in movies, television shows, tv and radio commercials,  won every respected jazz poll in the world at least once, and has 18 Grammy Awards, the most for any orchestra.

Today, under the leadership of it’s Director, Scotty Barnhart, The Count Basie Orchestra is traveling the world celebrating it’s 80th Anniversary and continuing the excellent standards in swinging and shouting the blues with precision, and continuing to be “The Most Explosive Force In Jazz”.


Clark Terry“I want everyone to Keep On Keeping On. Don’t drop the rhythym. Keep the music alive and teach somebody what you’ve learned.” Clark Terry

On February 21, 2015, The Count Basie Orchestra family lost one of our true jazz legends and dear friends, Mr. Clark Terry. Mr. Terry, or “CT” as he was affectionately known, had a tremendous career spanning some eight decades. He joined Count Basie’s small group in the early 1950s and also appeared on the orchestra’s recording Chairman Of The Board.
Clark was one of the greatest trumpeters to ever live and was a mentor to such greats as Quincy Jones, Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, and many others including Count Basie Orchestra Director, Scotty Barnhart. Clark appeared as a guest on Barnhart’s debut solo album, Say It Plain being one of the last recordings Clark made before his passing. Clark was also a member of The Duke Ellington Orchestra and one of the first African American musicians to be on the staff at NBC Studios in New York. Terry recorded on more than 900 albums and a pioneer in Jazz Education and has been a mentor to literally hundreds of students over the years. Clark Terry was a true master musician and an even greater human being. He was loved by all who knew him and he will surely be missed. Mr. Basie has a new trumpet soloist now.

Watch again CBO on Australian TV…

Scotty Barnhart and Carmen Bradford chat on The Morning Show
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William ‘Count’ Basie inducted into the American Jazz Walk of Fame at The 18th and Vine St. Museum


The inaugural celebration of Count Basie in the American Jazz Walk of Fame took place in Kansas City, MO on August 23rd 2014. The plaque unveiling was followed by The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra performing to a sell-out audience at the Gem Theatre.

Read more

Monday August 21st 2014 The Telegraph Count Basie: A Jazz Pioneer who still inspires. By Martin Chilton

Count Basie, who died 30 years ago, was born on August 21 1904. The big band star remains one of the most important figures in jazz. Read article

Count Basie Orchestra new recording for 2015!

Our Christmas recording session at the infamous Capitol Recording studios took place on July 14-16th 2014 in Los Angeles. A November 2014 release marks history as the first Christmas recording where the orchestra is the main artist. Our special guests are Johnny Mathis, Ellis Marsalis, Ledisi, and guest arranger Sammy Nestico.

More photos from the session can be seen on our Facebook page

Scotty Barnhart appointed as the New Director of The Count Basie Orchestra

Read more… Press Release CBO Director

 Will Matthews, Scotty Barnhart, Clarence Banks, Carmen Bradford and Doug Miller at The American Jazz Walk of Fame induction


Count Basie Orchestra saxophonist Doug Miller

© William James “Count” Basie Trust 2015