NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Count Basie (born William James Basie on August 21, 1904 and passed away on April 26, 1984) was a prolific jazz pianist/organist and bandleader/composer for sixty years going back to 1924. He was the leader of the Count Basie Orchestra from 1935 and for nearly 50 years thereafter.

He is credited with instrument innovations such as the use of the two “split” tenor saxophones, more emphasis on the rhythm section, and riffing with a big band. He also was responsible for the careers of numerous musicians and singers.

Count (William) Basie (1904 – 1984) American jazz musician, composer and band leader, at the piano. (credit: Express Newspapers/Getty Images)

Today’s song is “April In Paris”. Since we are only a few days away from April of this writing, this song quickly came to mind. Vernon Duke wrote the music while E. Y.Harburg wrote the lyrics in 1932. This song has been performed by so many fabulous artists, including Louis Armstrong, Bill Eckstine, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Dinah Shore, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and many more. The Basie version hit the Billboard Top 40 in 1956, finishing at #28 and on the charts for three weeks. The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall Of Fame. Although the version you will hear does not include a vocalist, below are the original lyrics:

April’s in the air
But here in Paris
April wears a different gown
You can see her waltzing down
The street
The tang of wine is in the air
I’m drunk with all the happiness
That spring can give
Never dreamed it could be
So exciting to live

(Chorus)
April in Paris
Chestnuts in blossom
Holiday tables under the trees

April in Paris
This is the feeling
No one can ever reprise

I never knew the charm of spring
I never met it face to face
I never knew my heart could sing
Never missed a warm embrace

So from 1956, here’s Count Basie and April In Paris!

Happy Spring!!