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Buddy Rich

 

 

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Buddy Rich was perhaps unmatched when it came to the combination of playing solos with speed and power.  His innovation didn't match his ability (as say, compared to Tony Williams or Elvin Jones), but his raw speed was incredible!  He was born in 1917 and was a prodigy.  He was born into a show-biz family and began playing vaudeville at the age of 18 months as "Traps, the Drum Wonder" and was playing on Broadway at the age of 4 under the name "Infant Taps."  He was completely self-taught.

He played with many of the major swing bands in the Thirties and early Forties, such as Harry James, Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Bunny Berrigan, and Benny Carter.   By the mid-Forties he had easily dethroned his friend Gene Krupa as the "King of Drummers."  He also played in smaller settings, such as on the trio recording with Lionel Hampton and Art Tatum, where he more than held his own, and with Charlie Parker, Lester Young, and Dizzy Gillespie, though he was more of a swing drummer than a bebop drummer.  In the Fifties, he led his own small groups and also displayed his singing.

In 1959, he suffered a heart attack, but that only slowed him down briefly.  He contemplated becoming a full-time singer, but never gave up the drums.  In the late Sixties, he bucked the trend and formed a roaring big band, which he re-formed in 1975.  He toured heavily into the mid-eighties, but he died in 1987.


For more Buddy Rich information, check out this site:

Buddy Rich - a fan's tribute

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