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William "Count" Basie (August 21, 1904– April 26, 1984) was a pianist, organist, composer, and bandleader.

As a pianist, he had a distinctive and influential style (the song title "Splanky" is an onomatopoetic reference to the sound of his playing), equally at home in the barrelhouse and the concert hall. Willie "The Lion" Smith, James P. Johnson, and Fats Waller were among his influences.

As a bandleader, he created an organization (built upon the remains of Bennie Moten's… read more

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