The Count Basie Orchestra was formed by William "Count" Basie in 1935. Its popularity has continued to the present, despite the decline of the big band era. Today it is composed of 19 performers, most of whom were hand-picked by Count Basie prior to his death in 1984. Highlights of the orchestra's worldwide popularity include15 Grammy Awards, Royal Command performances, presidential and gubernatorial inaugurals, numerous Reader's Poll awards and induction into the International Jazz Hall of Fame.
Performing with the orchestra will be award-winning jazz vocalist Joe Williams, who received an honorary doctorate from Hamilton in 1988. His accomplishments include over 30 albums, numerous television and movie appearances, symphony orchestra appearances and other honorary degrees.
The Count Basie Orchestra is directed by Grover Mitchell, whose association with the orchestra includes 22 years as lead trombone player. His solo credits include five albums, studio performances for network television, numerous studio recordings, films, live performances and awards shows.
The Count Basie Orchestra concert is the premiere performance of the 1996-1997 Music at Hamilton Artist Series. Additional concerts in the series include the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Friday, Sept. 20; the Orion String Quartet, Saturday, Oct. 12; pianist Mykola Suk, Friday, Nov. 22; and the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, Sunday, Feb. 9. Tickets for the five-part series, including the Count Basie Orchestra performance, are $40 for the general public and $10 for students.
For further information, or to order tickets, call the Schambach Center for Music and the Performing Arts at 859-4331.