Through His Own Eyes – This revealing biography, told in Count Basie’s own words, uncovers for the first time the private passions and ambitions that inspired the world-famous bandleader and pianist. Until recently, little was known about Basie’s private and family life, but this documentary uncovers a treasure-trove of home movies and photo albums that expose Basie’s remarkable relationship with his wife Catherine, whose pioneering support for African-American causes placed her at the side of Martin Luther King. Through Basie’s intimate footage and letters -and interviews with Quincy Jones and former band members – the film discovers the Count’s protective love for his disabled daughter Diane who ‘was never out of his heart and mind: the hidden core of his creative life’. Basie’s musical achievements were remarkable: the first African-American to win a Grammy, he brought the Blues to the big band podium. He was ‘the King of the Swing Kings’. We see rare performances with Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Sammy Davis Jr. and many others. But this film digs deeper, uncovering the inner motivation and passions that drove Basie’s career as he became a unique link between jazz and America’s turbulent social history. Airs 12/29 at 2:30 p.m.
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