Skip to Main Content

Count Basie

Guide about Count Basie with biography, annotated listing of recordings, videos, readings, interviews, oral histories, and websites.


NOTE: All readings listed below are in the collection of the Institute of Jazz Studies.

Good Morning Blues: The Autobiography of Count Basie
Count Basie as told to Albert Murray; Introduction by Dan Morgenstern
New York: Random House, 1985
Basie’s life from his childhood in Red Bank in the 1920s to his world-wide renown as a bandleader is rendered by Murray in Basie’s own voice.

The World of Count Basie
Stanley Dance
New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1980
Through interviews with the bandleader and sidemen and singers of the various Basie bands, Dance paints a composite portrait of the man and his music.

Count Basie: A Bio-Discography
Compiled by Chris Sheridan
New York: Greenwood Press, 1986
Sheridan’s amply annotated discography relates the Basie story from his first recording with Bennie Moten’s Kansas City Orchestra in October 1929 to a final unreleased session for Norman Granz in March 1984. Book also offers ample appendices containing bibliography, band’s itinerary, record listings, musicians and tune titles.

Count Basie and His Orchestra, Its Music and Its Musicians; with discography by Alun Morgan
Raymond Horricks
London, Gollancz, 1957
Horricks wrote the first draft of the history of the rough-riding orchestra that blew out of Kansas City in the late 1930s into Earley years of Basie's revival with the “New Testament” band.

Goin' to Kansas City
Nathan W. Pearson, Jr.
Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1987
Interviews with such Kansas City figures as Count Basie, Eddie Durham, Buck Clayton, Buddy Tate, Gene Ramey and Buster Smith tell the story of the great bands and the city that brought them together.

Tuxedo Junction: Essays on American Culture
Gerald Earley
New York: Ecco Press, 1989
An essay on Count Basie includes analyzing what Basie said and left unsaid in his 1984 autobiography.

Jazz Style: History and Analysis
Mark Gridley
Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1985
Author provides concise analysis of Basie bands over the years with listings of influential soloists.

The Jazz Makers
Edited by Nat Shapiro and Nat Hentoff
New York: Rinehart, 1957
Shapiro essay provides concise, entertaining history of Basie band.

John Hammond on Record: An Autobiography
John Hammond with Irving Townsend
New York: Penguin Books, 1977
The producer/promoter whose musical associations ranged from Bessie Smith to Texas bluesman Stevie Ray Vaughan recounts the story of his life, including his role in bringing Count Basie to prominence.

Buck Clayton's Jazz World
Buck Clayton with Nancy Miller Elliott; discography compiled by Bob Weir
New York: Oxford University Press, 1986


© , Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Rutgers is an equal access/equal opportunity institution. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to direct suggestions, comments, or complaints concerning any accessibility issues with Rutgers websites to or complete the Report Accessibility Barrier / Provide Feedback form.