2009-09-24 / Front Page

Count Basie statue rededication Oct. 2

RED BANK — One of Red Bank's most notable citizens, William "Count" Basie, a pioneer of swing music, was born in Red Bank in 1903 and remembered his hometown when he recorded "The Kid From Red Bank."

A bronze bust of Count Basie, sculpted by noted New Jersey artist, Brian Hanlon, has been housed at the Visitors Center at the Red Bank Train Station for the last few years. When first commissioned, the original plan called for the Basie statue to be displayed outdoors on the train station plaza. Due to construction of the high-level platforms and other changes to the historic train station, plans were delayed.

Through the efforts of Basie enthusiasts and art benefactors, the Red Bank Men's Club, the Borough of Red Bank, NJ Transit and other cultural groups, it was decided to move the Basie statue to a more visible, prominent location at the Red Bank Train Station Plaza at the intersection of Monmouth Street and Bridge Avenue.

The relocation will bring higher awareness and create a more public profile of the world renowned musician and conductor. In addition, his likeness will be seen and appreciated by visitors, residents, commuters and pedestrians walking along the gateway to the "Red Bank Arts Corridor" along Monmouth Street.

The bronze Basie bust will be rededicated at the train station on 4-5 p.m. on Oct. 2. Mayor Pasquale Menna will introduce the ceremony, which will feature jazz music selections. Relatives of Count Basie have been invited to attend and the public is welcome.

Basie was born in Red Bank to Harvey Lee Basie and Lilly Ann Childs Basie and lived in his parent's house on Mechanic Street. Red Bank has named a theatre, a street, a learning center and park in his honor. Over a 60-plus year career, Basie helped establish jazz as a serious art form played not just in clubs but in theatres and concert halls throughout the world.

For more information on this upcoming event, contact Gary Watson, borough assistant administrator, at 732-530-2770.

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