Excerpt from the IAJE Panel Discussion "A Salute to Count Basie"
Participants: Frank Foster, Dennis Wilson, Jimmy Owens, Joe Wilder, Dan Morgenstern
Frank Foster: Freddie Green...well, Freddie Green...the first night I took over the leadership of the band in 1986, he came to me and said, "Fos, you got it. It's in your hands." And he like piled the greatest responsibility in the world on my shoulders, and I did my best to live up to it. When Basie passed away, Freddie Green had said,"Now that the Chief is gone I don't know what I'm gonna do." When Freddie Green passed away, I made that very same speech," Now that Freddie Green is gone, I don't know what I'm going to do."
Dennis Wilson: I don't know if you realize it but Freddie Green was in the Basie band longer than Count Basie. Just remember that.
Jimmy Owens: How about Eddie Durham? Eddie Durham was the first guitarist. According to Eddie Durham, he was in the band before Freddie Green. He played guitar and then he switched over to playing trombone when Freddie joined the band. This is from Eddie Durham's mouth.
Dennis Wilson: Well, that can't be true then. (Laughter.)
Dan Morgenstern: I can clarify this a bit. Eddie was in the Benny Moten band with Basie, and then he also was in the Basie band later on. Eddie doubled on trombone and solo guitar. Before electric guitars, he had a metal National guitar with a big resonator. He took solos on that. But the original guitarist in the Basie band was Claude "Fiddler" Williams. Freddie replaced him. Eddie never played rhythm guitar in the Basie band.