Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This close to playing with Count Basie

Over the years, Leroy Cooper met and mingled with so many jazz, blues and big band musicians. Count Basie was one of the favorites. Everybody wanted to play with his band. Leroy told me a story about an opportunity to play with Count Basie that slipped through his fingers in just a few moments.

"Count Basie used to have a song called Every Tub. Every tub sits on its own bottom. That meant that everybody had to give it all they got. That was a wonderful band. I always wanted to play in that band. I was about 5 or 10 minutes from it; we were on tour with them in London. The baritone player got detained in some way so they asked me to sit in. But by the time it took for me to get on the bandstand, he popped in the door. That’s the closest I ever got."

The bari player was a friend of Leroy Cooper's. When Leroy left Ray's band to go work at Disney, he tried to get him to take his place but it didn't work out.

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