Count Basie Orchestra and Marcus Roberts Trio booked at Symphony Center

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Years ago when the The Regal Theatre was in the vicinity of 47th and South Parkway (now King Drive), Count Basie and his Orchestra entertained to packed houses. Their swinging sounds continue Friday at the Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave. Special gu

Years ago when the The Regal Theatre was in the vicinity of 47th and South Parkway (now King Drive), Count Basie and his Orchestra entertained to packed houses. Their swinging sounds continue Friday at the Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave. Special guests The Marcus Roberts Trio will also perform.

Count Basie was born William James Basie on August 21,1904 in Red Bank, New Jersey. He made famous the swinging jazz tune “One O’Clock Jump.”

As a young musician performing on organ and piano in venues on the East Coast and in the South, and in vaudeville during the 1920s, Basie was also active in the Midwest and was influenced by Fats Waller. Eventually, Basie established his own jazz orchestra and featured the tenor saxophonist Lester Young. The pianist and his small combos continued entertaining until he passed in 1984.

During the 1950s he was active in the company of Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson and other fabulous keyboard stylist. In fact Basie was the first black to win a Grammy in 1958. Along with Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, King of Swing, and Earl Hines, he was classed as the Count.

Marcus Roberts, a native of Jacksonville, Fla., became blind as a child. Still, he established his ability to perform musically after attending the Florida School for Deaf and the Blind in St, Augustine, Fla. It was trumpeter Wynton Marsalis who selected him as a member of his orchestra as a pianist. Roberts earned international significance as great interpreter of Monk, Ellington, Morton and Gershwin.

“ELMA AND COMPANY” Red Carpet Easter Jam, executive producer Elma Lucas celebrate the 20-year anniversary of her CAN-TV television series on Channel 19 with a special taping on Easter at 3:30 p.m. at St. Elizabeth Hall, 41st Street and Wabash Avenue. The Red Carpet Easter Jam Celebration is geared toward the youth, giving them the celebrity spotlight.

‘TANGO’ SMOLDERS AT BEVERLY ARTS CENTER GALLERY, 2407 W. 111th

Street, continues through May 29.

Copyright 2011 Chicago Defender

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