Count Basie Orchestra, circa 1972: The world famous Count Basie Orchestra was formed in 1935 in Kansas City by William “Count” Basie. Since then it has travelled the world many times over. Considered one of the best jazz bands ever, it has played before Kings, Queens, and at U.S. presidential inaugural balls. The Count Basie Orchestra has won 18 Grammy Awards over the years. Additionally it has won awards from every jazz poll in the world at least once and some several times. Orangeburg native Johnny Williams, pictured above, was a member of this famous orchestra for about 40 years until his retirement back in Orangeburg several years ago. Left to Right: Bobby Plater, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Bill Hughes, Johnny Williams, and Count Basie. Picture courtesy of Johnny Williams and provided by Dr. Gene Atkinson.

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