The Center for the Arts presents
Directed by Scotty Barnhart
Featured Vocalist Carmen Bradford
A Very Swingin’ Basie Christmas
Thursday, December 1, 2016, 7:30pm
“The 80-year-old Count Basie Orchestra is out with its first holiday album…Director and trumpeter Scotty Barnhart has kept the signature feel-good, blues-based Basie sound…” – Associated Press
“…tradition served up with unassuming style.” – The New York Times
“The core Basie virtues remain intact: meticulous musicianship, tight comradeship, buoyant swing…Barnhart and other soloists shine.” ***1/2 – DownBeat Magazine
THE LEGENDARY COUNT BASIE ORCHESTRA CELEBRATES 80 YEARS WITH THEIR FIRST CHRISTMAS RECORDING
Coinciding with celebrating its 80th anniversary, the legendary Count Basie Orchestra continues to make music history with the November 6th, 2015 release of A Very Swingin’ Basie Christmas! on Concord Jazz. The first full-length, yuletide album in the expansive Basie discography, the album boasts classic holiday songs, rendered in quintessential Basie style, under the masterful direction of longtime Basie trumpeter Scotty Barnhart and produced by seven-time Grammy winner and former Basie drummer Gregg Field.
The disc also showcases such guest artists as legendary singer Johnny Mathis, award-winning R&B singer Ledisi, veteran jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis, and iconic tenor saxophonist Plas Johnson (famous for being the soloist on Henry Mancini’s “The Pink Panther Theme”). The album also represents the return of the multi-Grammy winning Basie composer-arranger Sammy Nestico and the 2015 multi-Grammy winning arranger Gordon Goodwin. The results are blues-soaked, joy-filled holiday treats that will delight and warm the hearts of Basie die-hard fans and new fans alike!
“I think [Count Basie] would be proud if he heard this record,” says Barnhart, who conceived the idea of focusing on Christmas music. When asked how he and the orchestra were able to channel the essence of Basie into the repertoire, Barnhart explains, “We have 80 years of history on our side.”
2015 marked 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.
The evening will include featured vocalist Carmen Bradford. Bradford has performed with the Count Basie Orchestra since 1982. She has guested on recordings by George Benson, Dori Caymmi, and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, toured Europe with the David Murray Big Band, performed the songs of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn with flutist James Newton, sang in concerts with the Doc Severinsen Orchestra, and is a vocal jazz professor at USC.
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”.