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Count Basie Orchestra and me


Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
On June 8 & 9 I will be playing with the Count Basie Orchestra in South Florida. June 9 is at the Coral Gables Congregational Church at 8 PM. Tickets $30 & $45.

I'm subbing for Doug Lawrence on the "Hot Seat" - The jazz tenor chair, formerly occupied by Lester Young, Frank Foster, Sal Nistico, and Jimmy Forrest. I have no pretense of being any of those great players, so I'm going to be me - for better or worse. It's a dream come true.


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Good on ya. Sorry that I'm about 2,000 miles away from there.

I vaguely remember getting front-row seats to see the Basie Orchestra about 25 years ago. I remember my jaw hitting the floor a number of times.


I heard the Count Basie Orchestra in Dayton, at Memorial Hall, the last time he played in Dayton before he died. He was using alittle scooter kind of a thing to get on and off the bandstand by that time of his life. He still played pretty well (Basie - like) for his age and health.

Also from Dayton, Booty Wood was on the bandstand that night. He had resumed touring with the band after retirinig from the Post Office.

I'm guessing this was in the early 1980's if my memory serves me correctly.

Have fun.


Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I'm from Dayton. Basie's great lead trumpert player, Snooky Young, who just passed a couple of weeks ago, was also from Dayton, and he also worked for the Post Office. When I was in high school, the Dayton Post office had a very good big band.


Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
The Basie gig was over a week ago, but I still haven't come down. It was wonderful. Everyone in the band was incredibly helpful, especially the saxes and the new leader, drummer Dennis Mackrel.
I got to play solos on several tunes, including a long one on "Basie's Back in Town" and a full 4 choruses on One O'Clock Jump.
It's impossible to explain how the band plays, except to say that the phrasing is unlike any other musical ensemble in the world. Knowing the notes helps, but the best way to approach the gig is to have listened to the band a lot. I've been listening like it's a religion for over 50 years, and maybe that's why they called me in the first place.
Saxes in the photo are Marshall McDonald, lead alto; Doug Miller, tenor sax; Randy Emerick, tenor sax; Cleave Guyton, alto sax and piccolo; and John Williams, baritone sax (with Basie for 40 years!)