BASIE, COUNT Born William Basie in 1904, "Count Basie" was an African American jazz pianist, bandleader and music composer. His early career centered in New York City, working in dance halls and vaudeville. He subsequently moved to Kansas City, a major jazz center, playing with Walter Page's Blue Devils (1927) and Bennie Morton's band (1929). Basie formed his own band in 1935, producing for 40 years a distinctive style and sound marked by a "powerful yet relaxed attitude." He is best remembered for his exceptional composition of "One O'Clock Jump." The Count died in 1984.