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The Buddy Rich Big Band

When it came to technique, speed, power, and the ability to put together incredible drum solos, Buddy Rich lived up to the billing of "the world's greatest drummer." Although some other drummers were more innovative, in reality none were in his league even during the early days. A genius, Buddy Rich started playing drums in vaudeville as "Traps, the Drum Wonder" when he was only 18 months old; he was completely self-taught. Rich performed in vaudeville throughout his childhood and developed into a decent singer and a fine tap dancer. But drumming was his purpose in life, and by 1938 he had discovered jazz and was playing with Joe Marsala's combo. Rich was soon propelling Bunny Berigan's orchestra, he spent most of 1939 with Artie Shaw (at a time when the clarinetist had the most popular band in swing), and then from 1939-1945 (except for a stint in the military) he was making history with Tommy Dorsey. During this era it became obvious that Buddy Rich was the king of drummers, easily dethroning his friend Gene Krupa. Rich had a bop-ish band during 1945-1947 that did not catch on, toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic, recorded with a countless number of all-stars in the 1950s for Verve (including Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Art Tatum, and Lionel Hampton), and worked with Les Brown, Charlie Ventura, Tommy Dorsey (1954-1955), and Harry James (off and on during 1953-1966). A heart attack in 1959 only slowed him down briefly and, although he contemplated becoming a full-time vocalist, Rich never gave up the drums.

In 1966, Buddy Rich beat the odds and put together a successful big band that would be his main outlet for his final 20 years. His heart began giving him trouble starting in 1983, but Rich never gave his music less than 100 percent and was still pushing himself at the end. A perfectionist who expected the same from his sidemen (some of whom he treated cruelly), Buddy Rich is definitively documented in Mel Tormé's book Traps the Drum Wonder. His incredible playing can be viewed on several readily available videotapes, although surprisingly few of his later big band albums have been made available yet on CD. ~ Scott Yanow, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Incomparable artistry...p e r i o d !
Was fortunate to see Buddy Rich and his orchestra twice in the late 60's and was amazed. What a sound, especially when one is seated 6 feet from the bandstand!!! Buddy was gracious enough to give me an autograph. To a 16 year old this was heaven.
An inspiration to anybody who digs showmanship / music.
Read the bios on both Rich and Gene Krupa(met and talked to and got an autographed picture from Krupa). No mention of Louie Belson. Check out his performance of Skin Deep on the Ellington Uptown album. 2 minutes and 45 seconds kicking 2 bases. Awesome.
williampirru n g 2
Saw Buddy many, many times, and he never failed to amaze me and the people who were with me. He called himself the Best drummer in the world and he truly was....miss you Buddy....
mdmurray2007
Heard him starting when I was 11 years old (1965). Thought he was the greatest, and it still gives me goosebumps to listen to some of his solos. I've read that he was a real S.O.B. if you screwed up during a gig or recording, but man could he bang on those skins...
animal2406
Buddy played in London UK every year during the sixties and seventies and I saw every one. I'd had drum lessons with a brit' drummer named Frank King who wrote a drumming column for Crescendo Magazine and thanks to him got to meet the great man in person three times. A big BIG influence on me in my early drumming years.
I saw Buddy and his Big Band on numerous occasions. His best shows were at Lenny's on the Turnpike in Peabody. He'd go to the bar on breaks and you could actually talk to him. His solo's were electrifying and his band was unbelievable . I saw him in Springfield when Richie Cole just started with him and contrary to the popular haircut for jazzmen Richie had long blonde hair. Some guy in the audience made negative comment and Buddy ripped him a new one commenting on the guy's white socks.
9124797389
Another man on Timothy's side
By
I to had the great fortune of seeing Buddy in person in Central Park in the the late 60's......on e word, WOW!!!!
patrickmott1
I had the great good fortune to interview Buddy for my college newspaper backstage at the Disneyland Carnation Gardens in 1973. Lovely guy--chatty, funny and very indulgent of a kid reporter. I worked summers at the park during my college years and never missed one of his sets. Siting on that hard stone dance floor only a few feet from him with dozens and dozens of other fans was the closest thing to pure bliss this side of heaven. That band blew the leaves off the trees!
rjnasgraf
I had the great fortune to see Buddy play at the Blue Max lounge, Amazing Grace club, and at Chicagofest- - h i s timing, speed, and touch on the instrument were beyond belief; he was a true virtuoso. He was the reason I began to play in my late 30's! (That left hand of his still amazes even the top players nowadays.) THE BEST EVER--PERIOD .
Saw Buddy and The Mercy, Mercy band at ASU shortly after the album came out. Wow, y'all think he's good on vinyl. Live was spectacular and what sidemen-best trumpets ensemble I've ever heard.
rbadoian
Chick Webb, Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich & Louie Bellson. We will never see that kind of talent again.
Jaw dropping, Heart pounding GREAT! I saw him at the carnation gardens at Disneyland as very young lad. I'll never forget, and still feel lucky. I say look up Tommy Igoe. wow....
I will have to agree that Buddy was the greatest drummer that ever lived. i met him when i was 15 years old in Asheville NC in 1968
johndzzy
Agree with timothy wholehearted l y .
Please God, can we have Buddy back? You can have Justin Beiber AND Lady Gag-Gag!
Buddy...the best there ever was, now and forever, Amen !!!
ahjr
The best.
Buddy's traveling bands of the seventies were,indeed, f u l l of 20ish players full of energy;and who better to drive them? The band frequently played the Boston area. Thanks GHR for bringing back memories of Lennies.
Without doubt the greatest drummer who has ever lived. A true drummer's drummer which is why Johnny Carson and others loved to hear him. I was privileged to see him live at Lenny's on the Turnpike in 1968 at the height of his career and it was absolutely unbelievable . And the talent he recruited from Berklee and other music schools...in c r e d i b l e . Jay Corre, Ernie Watts, Bobby Shew....to name a few. GHR

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