William James “Count” Basie (1904-1984) started performing in his teens, improvising piano accompaniment for silent films in his home town of Red Bank, NJ before gaining popularity in Harlem clubs in his early 20’s. At 30 he formed his own jazz orchestra and never looked back, leading the group for nearly 50 years, and having a tremendous influence, even today, on the sound of big band music and ensemble jazz. That distinctive “Basie sound” is impressively channeled by the H2 Big Band, a world-class ensemble of 17 musicians under the co-leadership of trumpeter Al Hood and pianist Dave Hanson. H2, back by popular demand after last year’s triumph at Vail Jazz’ Swingin’ Affair, features a wealth of talent amply displayed by the band’s excellent and energetic arrangements. Basie would be proud!