RED BANK – William “Count” Basie was born on Aug. 21, 1904, in Red Bank, 117 years ago.
To celebrate the consummate orchestra leader, the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, 94 Drs James Parker Blvd., will showcase live jazz on the front lawn of the historic site. Performing on Basie’s birthday, Aug. 21, from 6-8 p.m., will be Music Beyond Measure with jazz vocalist Tamara Williams.
All are welcome to attend the performance and festivities. Seating will be provided or guests may bring a lawn chair.
The $25 admission includes viewing the cultural center’s current exhibit, “A Love Letter to Count Basie: From The Great Migration to The Harlem Renaissance,” according to a press release.
Tickets can be purchased by logging on to basiebirthdaybash.eventbrite.com
The legacy of Count Basie lives on as the orchestra which bears his name is in its 86th year and is still touring and performing.
Basie was the first African American male to win a Grammy award in 1958, along with Ella Fitzgerald, the first African American woman to take home the coveted award, according to the press release.
Basie was a revered jazz pianist and composer and always found time to come back home to Red Bank to lend his celebrity to charitable causes. He was very good friends with the Drs. Parker family and supported many of the civic causes that were dear to the family, according to the press release.
The “Love Letter to Count Basie” exhibit was a collaboration with the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University, Newark, which holds the Count Basie collection of artifacts.
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