The song also is identified in the clip as The Kid From Red Bank. Basie was born in the New Jersey town in 1904. It certainly is a better title, unless there is a story attached to Whirly Bird.
Indeed, Basie’s status as a great musician was not a matter of extension and elaboration of blues idiom basics as was the case of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. Basie’s claim to fame and prestige was based on his refinement of the fundamentals that make jazz music swing.
The Basie hallmark was always simplicity, but it is a simplicity that is the result of a distillation that produced music that was as refined, subtle and elegant as it was earthy and robust. There is no better example of the ungaudy in the work of any other American artist in any medium.
The essay is part of a fabulous retrospective entitled ‘One More Once’: A Centennial Celebration of the Life and Music of Count Basie at the Rutgers University website.