On Friday, the Trust of William James “Count” Basie, The Count Basie Orchestra, and All That Music Productions announced the appointment of Atlanta native Scotty Barnhart as the new Director of The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra.
Barnhart was born in 1964 in Atlanta and discovered his passion for music at an early age. He was raised in Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where he was christened by 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” (published by Hal Leonard). Barnhart is also Professor of Jazz Trumpet/Jazz Studies at Florida State University. His first concert as leader of the orchestra will be September 25, in Atlanta, at the Cobb Energy Center in a tribute to Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Joe Williams.
Barnhart follows Thad Jones, Frank Foster, Grover Mitchell, Bill Hughes, and Dennis Mackrel in leading one of the most important jazz orchestras in history.
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, according to a statement from the Orchestra. The orchestra has released hundreds of recordings, won numerous jazz polls, 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.