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Inaugural Count Basie Great American Swing Contest Is Open

Amateurs and pros alike are invited to submit their versions of a Basie classic by Nov. 1; judges include Branford Marsalis, Christian McBride, and Stefon Harris

Count Basie
Count Basie

Submissions are now welcome for the inaugural Count Basie Great American Swing Contest, a new jazz talent competition presented by the Count Basie Estate in coordination with Primary Wave Music Publishing. All entries must be received by November 1, 2020.

The launch of the competition in 2020 marks the 85th anniversary of the formation of the Count Basie Orchestra.

Participants in the Great American Swing Contest—which is open to amateur and professional musicians of all ages—are tasked with creating a unique cover of one of three staple Count Basie songs: “One O’ Clock Jump,” “Jumpin’ at the Woodside,” or “Blues in Hoss’ Flat.” Covers can be done in any style but must be submitted by November 1 via the Count Basie website.

Entries will be judged by an elite panel that includes Nat Adderley Jr., Scotty Barnhart, Bruce Barth, Stefon Harris, Mimi Jones, Robert Kraft, Branford Marsalis, Christian McBride, Mark Ruffin, Helen Sung, and Wayne Winborne. The winner will be announced December 1.

The author of the winning entry will receive mentoring by members of the judges’ panel while they re-record their Basie track in a professional studio. The track will be officially released in February with a label partner to be named later.

Other partners in the contest include the Blue Note Jazz Club, DownBeat magazine, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Newport Jazz Festival, and SiriusXM.


Further information, including complete contest rules and a playlist of Basie songs, can be found at