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Count Basie Orchestra runs a clinic at New Trier

Members of the Count Basie Orchestra ran a noncompetitive jazz clinic on February 2 at New Trier High School in Winnetka, Illinois, providing master classes and giving an evening performance for students of jazz from 45 schools spread across Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Canada, the New Trier News reports.

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“The Count Basie Orchestra became popular as a dance band in the ’30s and ’40s and continues to hold musical prestige today, having won 18 Grammys,” wrote Connor Caserio in the school’s student newspaper. “They have been at the center of jazz history since then and have been playing almost without interruption since the late ’30s,” he quoted Nicholas Meyer, director of New Trier’s Jazz 1 Ensemble, as saying.

Indeed, when one hears a great American orchestra like Count Basie’s play its swinging melodies, it’s a musical history lesson, not only about the close ties between jazz and swing dancing, but also about the more complex meaning of music performance aesthetics in America.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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