In the late 1920s, Bennie Moten
's Kansas City Orchestra
was the most sucessful Jazz band of the Midwest. The band toured all over the country and had a top selling recording in 1927 for Victor named "South". In 1929, the young Count Basie
of The Blue Devils
joined the band, and several other members of that band soon followed. Among them were bass player Walter Page
, trumpeter Hot Lips Page
, vocalist Jimmy Rushing
and guitarist Eddie Durham
(the first guitarist to experiment with proto-amplifiers, in the solo of Band Box Shuffle
in October 1929).
The acquisition of all these members of the Blue Devils caused the exodus of long-time Moten Band members Thamon Hayes
and Harlan Leonard
, who founded their own ensemble.
When Moten hired Ben Webster
and Eddie Barefield
in 1932, the modernization of the band was complete. Later that same year, Moten recorded Moten's Swing
, one of the first recordings to use a riff, the foundation of Kansas City jazz.
Count Basie took over the band after Moten's death in 1935.