Fred was speaking about his tenure with The Count Basie Orchestra and how no-one
gave anyone any tips as to the crazy protocol in the band. Count Basie would just count off tunes and
start playing them and you had better know what and where to play because none was about to give
you a tip!
They would play tunes like this:
The funniest thing to me is how Fred described that the Basie band would play ultra cool and laid back and were just consummate showman…but the split second the curtains closed the whole band would scurry like wild things to gather up their instruments, charts and stands so as to get directly on the bus in order to make the next gig which was often a long overnight bus trip away !
And if you did get to stay in a hotel room and were late for lobby call the next day they would “grease spot” you meaning; all that would be left would be the buses grease spot!
Fred also related a fantastic story about how The Basie band were playing at the Grammys Live and that it was gonna be Fred’s solo. Fred was super excited and the stage was one that actually raised up out of the floor. So Fred was gearing up to play, the stage is rising slowly…and as it gets close to the spotlight Basie says, “lets play Sweet Georgia Brown instead”. Fred said “I DONT KNOW SWEET GEORGIA BROWN”!