Count Basie Through His Own Eyes

2018 • 1h 15m

This revealing biography, told in Count Basie’s own words, uncovers for the first time the private passions and ambitions that inspired the world-famous bandleader and pianist. Until now, little was known about Basie’s private and family life, but director Jeremy Marre uncovered a treasure-trove of home movies and photo albums that expose Basie’s remarkable relationship with his wife, Catherine, whose pioneering support for African-American causes placed her at the side of Martine Luther King.

Through Basie’s intimate footage, letters, and interviews with friends like Quincy Jones and Annie Ross, we discover the Count’s protective love for his disabled daughter, Diane, who "was never out of his heart and mind: the hidden core of his creative life." Basie’s musical achievements were remarkable: the first African-American to win a Grammy, he brought the Blues to the big band podium. He was "the King of the Swing Kings." We see rare performances with Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis Jr., and many others. But this film digs deeper, uncovering the inner motivation and passions that drove Basie’s career as he became a unique link between jazz and America’s turbulent social history.