William James "Count" Basie, Aug. 21, 1904 – Apr. 26, 1984 was a Jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. His mother taught him to play the piano and he started performing in his teens. By 16, he increasingly played jazz piano at parties, resorts and other venues. In 1924, he went to Harlem,expanding his career he toured with groups to jazz cities like Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City. In 1929 he joined Bennie Moten's band in KC, he played with them until Moten's death.