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CSU band ‘count’-ed in for Basie concert

— The big band leader whose career ranged from working with singer Billie Holiday, to providing the backdrop for the arrival of “Sheriff Bart” in the film “Blazing Saddles,” will be celebrated by Clayton State University’s Clayton Community Big Band next week.

The band will present a free “Hooked On Basie” concert, featuring the songs of swing big band leader Count Basie, at Spivey Hall Nov. 26, at 7:30 p.m.

“This is actually the fourth program of 100 percent Count Basie music that the [Clayton Community Big Band] has held in our 12 years of existence,” said band director Stacey Houghton, in a written statement. “I am surely hooked on Basie, the band can't get enough Basie, and our audiences always enjoy and request Basie ... It has been five years since the last all-Basie show, so we are due for another.”

Basie’s career stretched from the late 1920’s until shortly before his death in 1984, and he became a prominent band leader in the age of swing jazz. Throughout his career, he worked with a wide range of famous musicians and arrangers, including Holiday, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Frank Sinatra and Quincy Jones, according to the Count Basie Theater website.

Some of Basie’s hits include “April in Paris,” “Everyday I have the Blues,” “Jumpin’ at the Woodside,” “One O’clock Jump” and “Shiny Stockings.”

In addition to Houghton, the band members performing in “Hooked on Basie” include: Atlanta resident Rodney Allen, Jr.; Conyers resident Josh Singleton; Decatur residents Anthony G. Bailey and Brandon Patman; Ellenwood resident Mark Gladfelter; Fayetteville residents Jacob Hall and Art Thompson, who is the band’s assistant director; Forest Park residents Marquis Hare, Marvin Pollock and Michael Wheeler; Jonesboro resident Doug Murray; Locust Grove resident Keith Gardner; Lovejoy resident Emily Dunn; McDonough residents Blake Anderson, Chris Grajko and Mark Lewis; Morrow residents Jennifer Dunn, Bryson Manzy and Taylor Threlkeld; Meansville resident Michael Terry and Thomaston resident Wayne Hughes.