Founded in 1935 by pianist William James Basie (1904-1984), the orchestra still tours the world today and is presently ending a two-week tour in Japan. The orchestra has released hundreds of recordings, won every respected jazz poll in the world at least once, has appeared in movies, television shows and commercials, Presidential Inaugurals, and has won 18 Grammy Awards, the most for any jazz orchestra.
Many of its former members are some of the most important soloists, vocalists, composers, and arrangers in jazz history. That list includes Lester Young, Billie Holiday, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Jo Jones, Frank Foster, Frank Wess, Thad Jones, Joe Williams, Sonny Payne, Snooky Young, Al Grey, John Clayton, Dennis Mackrel and others.
Barnhart, born in 1964, is a native of Atlanta. He discovered his passion for music at an early age while being raised in Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where he was christened by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He has been a featured trumpet soloist with the Count Basie Orchestra for the past 20 years, and is a graduate of Gordon High School in Decatur, Florida A&M University, a solo recording artist with Unity Music, the author of “The World of Jazz Trumpet — A Comprehensive History and Practical Philosophy” and is professor of Jazz Trumpet/Jazz Studies at Florida State University.
His first concert as leader of the orchestra is today at the Cobb Energy Center in a tribute to Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Joe Williams. Barnhart resides in Los Angeles and Tallahassee, Fla.
Visit cobbenergycentre.com for more information.
Sally Litchfield is a longtime Marietta resident. She formerly practiced law in Marietta and now stays home to raise her two children. Send Sally news at email@example.com. Call Sally at (770) 425-8106.