Count Basie, Jimmy Rushing, and Joe Williams
East of Stan Kenton, but west of Duke Ellington; south of Glenn Miller, but north of Jelly Roll Morton, in the 1930s, there was a red hot Kansas City swing band led by William “Count” Basie. Often fronted by the famed blues shouter, Jimmy Rushing, the band threw a combination of sophisticated jazz, blues, field hollers, swing, popular melodies and gospel rhythms into one boiling pot. The resultant brew was then poured piping hot in all directions of dance halls. Those on whom is it fell jumped to their feet to dance the Jitterbug, the Lindy Hop or some other swinging step. Others of less rhythmic blessings just reacted as the spirit moved them–even if only in spasmodic jerks.
Joe Williams was Count Basie’s last vocalist of the Kansas City genre and I never knew that he and Jimmy Rushing ever performed together. Well, they did and young people should know about those "pillars in the house of African American music."
The following link is to some classics by Count Basie and the great Kansas City blues shouter, Jimmy Rushing. My favorite is "Goin’ to Chicago:" Click on any of the eleven choices (including the Harvard Blues) and hear the whole cut.
The next one is a link to a video of the Basie Band performing at Newport in the 1950s(?) with Joe Williams leading off and Jimmy Rushing joining him for a duet of "Goin’ to Chicago." It is powerful, if for no other reason than the two master vocalists on the same stage: