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Dear Count Basie…

Dear Count Basie,

Did you know your music was going to move a generation? A generation so far removed from the one you grew up in that you might as well say they 2 different worlds, entirely! I’m not claiming to speak for my entire age group but I think I speak for those groups around the world that hear your music and are instantly transformed! Those hundreds of hours you spent on the road, on a different band stand in a different city every night of the week for months have not gone unnoticed. You perfected your craft, and those of he other musicians in your band, and recorded so many tracks. Did you know that many years after you were gone from this world kids would still be listening to and heed its call? Your music inspires us all, like a call to arms, that makes every boy and girl, jump up, grab a partner, clap our hands and stomp our feet to the sounds that you and your band produce. It is as though your music actually speaks to our very soul and gives us no other choice but to dance to every note in those 2-3 minutes tunes. When many of us hear those first 8 notes to “Jumpin’ at the Woodside”, your swinging masterpiece. I’ll tell you what Jim… there is no other feeling quite like it! It’s like you are the doctor send your electric music running through us and giving us all life! The way “Shiny Stockings” moves and bends so masterfully. The rise and fall of the moods in that song brings tear to my eye every time I begin to hear it. And the build up you create through out the entire piece is nothing short of genius! I could go on and on with every one of your swinging pieces. But the truth is that your entire collection of music, from the slowest saddest number to the blazing hot, mind blowing pieces that made our jaws drop and lift our souls. Every number you played, you played it your way. And your fans across the world still celebrate you for it today. So thank you. Thank you for doing what you truly loved and sharing it with the world. Thank you for playing every song as though it were the last time it would be heard. Thank you for making every note heart felt and full of life. And thank you, for every time we hear those first few notes you strike, on your black & ivory keys, makes us want to get up and swing out!

The media of your day may have pegged another young man as the “King of Swing”. But to this young dancer you, William “Count” Basie, will be my one and only “KING OF SWING!”