Buddy...I was listening last night, and BAM!

Toast Tee

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I'm actually up again watching him.
I had a professor in college named Warren Smith. He was a musical master mind. I had no idea who he was when I was taking classes with him. He was the coolest professor I ever had, in any subject. His main thing was percussion, but technically....well he wasn't that guy, but always got it done.
Anyway, he played with all the Jazz greats, and was even Janis Joplin's music director for a bit (Id NEVER think he'd have that position)
He would always talk about Charlie Parker, Tony Williams......some much more than others.
So he was teaching an intro clsss with a good amount of students. He never said Buddy was the best. He didn't put im in the top Jazz cats from the 40's on (i believe he's 90's now, and hasn't passed)
Let me wrap this up. He never said a bad thing about Buddy, and did say he was the fastest drummer. However, he wouldn't say Buddy was the best..
Especially now, I wonder why? He was African American, but was seriously against racism .
I'd like to see if I can somehow contact him, as we were pretty close for several years.
He let me play the drum kit for Music Lab. Now that's a cool guy ha.
I'll think of who he said he thought the best was. I have a mental block. Driving me nut lol
 

Toast Tee

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DUH, he loved Max Roach. He thought he was the top dog in jazz. All around
 

langmick

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There's a part in this WSS solo where he misses on a move he tried to make and the camera is on his face, one of the few times where I appreciated that, then anger flashes across his face as it doesn't happen, then he goes for it again and ups the power and speed. The look in his eyes has always stayed with me. The intensity and concentration, he's deep in his head. It's what it takes to get to that level of playing and running a band.

I think the snare on this recording sounds great, the whole set sounds very powerful. And I think Bonzo borrowed a lot from Buddy in his solos.

 

ChrisBabbitt

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Regarding Buddy's sound on the Tonight Show appearances, I don't like the sound of the drums on any of them. Firstly, television audio in those days was very limited, with most of the bandwidth on the tape allotted to video, the drum kit was usually rented and set-up quickly, and miking was also set-up quick and minimal. I've seen Buddy live maybe 25 times, and I can tell you that you haven't really experienced Buddy Rich unless you have seen and heard him in person.
 

Toast Tee

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Regarding Buddy's sound on the Tonight Show appearances, I don't like the sound of the drums on any of them. Firstly, television audio in those days was very limited, with most of the bandwidth on the tape allotted to video, the drum kit was usually rented and set-up quickly, and miking was also set-up quick and minimal. I've seen Buddy live maybe 25 times, and I can tell you that you haven't really experienced Buddy Rich unless you have seen and heard him in person.
I could imagine. There are so many great drummers who became completely obsessed after watching him live.
A good story was by Carter Beauford. He was a lefty, but set up his kit like Buddy (righty)
Carter took open handed drumming to the next level thanks to his experience.
The sound on the Carson videos were so much better than I had ever remembered. I wonder if they remastered them?
In one of the appearances he had just got a white Ludwig kit. He had just met them for the 1st time on that appearance, and tore it up. That recording siunds amazing.
 

JimmySticks

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Regarding Buddy's sound on the Tonight Show appearances, I don't like the sound of the drums on any of them. Firstly, television audio in those days was very limited, with most of the bandwidth on the tape allotted to video, the drum kit was usually rented and set-up quickly, and miking was also set-up quick and minimal. I've seen Buddy live maybe 25 times, and I can tell you that you haven't really experienced Buddy Rich unless you have seen and heard him in person.
His snare usually sounded really good to me, but the toms? Who knows, he played so blazingly quick over them I don't think it mattered if they were tuned or not.
 
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langmick

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There seems to be a way of listening not as intently, and soaking everything in, rather than putting n the drummer cap and over-analyzing everything that really pays benefits in understanding music. I had an experience like this with Tony and Emergency, Billy and Between Nothingness and Eternity...I was "half listening" and all of a sudden I was hearing what they were doing in a much different way. It was a bolt of lightning.
 

paul

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When I was 19 and a cocky young guy, in early 1967, I saw Buddy and his band in Al Hirt's cllub in New Orleans. At the time he was about 50, and he blew me away. If I'd had them in front of me I would have burned my drums that night. It's tough to be so young and realize that someone is already better than you'll ever be, faster, with total control and extreme musicality.

I obviously didn't burn my kit, but it was close. Like most everyone else, I accepted my limitations and tried to steal everything I could from the guy, and still do.

Something I don't think we appreciate enough is his skill as an accompanist. I have a videotape of him doing two 30 minute television shows in Japan when he was with Harry James, in about 1964. I also have a recording with Art Tatum and Lionel Hampton, no bassist, and heard but don't own, sadly, a recording with Tommy Dorsey where Sinatra was the feature. In all cases, he's the consummate rhythm section player, driving the band hard but never overshadowing the soloist or the band.

Several years ago my big band performed Channel One Suite. Because of the length of the chart and the speed involved I decided the only thing to do was just memorize the whole piece and play it as well as I could. So I wound up at my set almost daily for two months playing along with Buddy and the band. I probably heard the song 50 times or more in that period, and when we performed it it went very well, in large part because the band was so tight I couldn't get lost if I tried. Fast forward to two nights ago when I was listening to my mp3 player in shuffle mode and COS came up. I'm still amazed, and heard things that night I never noticed before. Dang, dude!
 

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Most times when I saw Buddy playing in the L.A. area, there would be a couple of well-known drummers in the audience. It was crazy to hear, not only the band, but all the gasps of emotion and disbelief from the audience all around me, similar to the way an audience reacts to death-defying stunts at a circus. There are many stories of drummers walking away crying after a Buddy Rich performance.
 

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Most times when I saw Buddy playing in the L.A. area, there would be a couple of well-known drummers in the audience. It was crazy to hear, not only the band, but all the gasps of emotion and disbelief from the audience all around me, similar to the way an audience reacts to death-defying stunts at a circus. There are many stories of drummers walking away crying after a Buddy Rich performance.
That had to be surreal! I remember seeing Buddy do a tune with Mel Torme, and he was giving Buddy a hard time about his playing. Imo, truth was he was envious of Buddy's talents. Buddy, on national TV took it like a good sport. But, to bevin an audience of other supremely talented drummers to watch a "peer" play must have been something else!

I remember one of my old teachers/friend, who is an amazing (the best I've ever seen in person, or at a show), would NEVER say a bad word about another drummer to anyone. Ya just knew who he thought was another great. There were only 2, or 3 drummers he'd talk about, but mostly Buddy. He knew I wasn't into it, or couldn't understand it, so he didn't even speak about Buddy too much.
He would say about Buddy, and I heard him say it about Chambers 1, or 2 times too. "I know what they're playing, but I don't know how they play so fast". That was about the biggest complement I'd ever heard him give another drummer. It was a big deal..to me anyway.

Until my "awakening", I thought Chambers would wipe the floor with Buddy when it came to speed.
After I heard, and sae Buddy the other night, I went and checked out Dennis from his even more flashy younger days, as well as some more recent stuff.
Buddy easily won in my book. Buddy was the complete, and more importantly the original real deal. His stick tricks, his personality, his awareness of EVERYTHING, and everyone around him. I'd listen too him doing a super clean, accented single stroke roll at IDK how many BPM per 1/4, then take a hand away, and maintain it, while his other hand went off on it's own solo.
I know even healthy, I had very limited talent, and never even groomed that. That being said, I could have practiced 12 hours a day, every day since I was 6, but I'd never achieve anything in the same ballpark....make that sport.
I know this is a long thread, but I realized something. I have a natural talent as far back as I can remember. Up until I needed my 3rd back surgery in my mid 40's, I could throw a football/baseball as well anyone. I'm not trying to brag, as I can hardly make it out of bed now. Watching what he, and others, albeit to a lesser degree can do, shows me how truly talented these guys are! To Buddy, and a couple guy's I've known throughout life, drums were/are their gifts. So, when I heard Stewart Copeland say "this is so easy, I can't see why everyone doesn't do this" I finally get it. Not to compare anyone to Buddy in those tetms.
He had a true gift. Idk if it's god, genetics, or what? It is real though, and he arguably had more than anyone who's ever played a drum set
 

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Buddy's left hand was the thing that made him super human. His wit & creativity was the conduit to that left hand. He's not my favorite drummer but I gave up comparing him to others a long time ago. I think there's Buddy & then everyone else.
 

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Regarding drum sound: Buddy used open, ringy drums (well, felt strips on the bass), tuned to project. (he would say he just "tensioned" them). That sound sometimes didn't translate well to close mics from the 70s on. Soundwise I particularly like the late 60s recordings, such as "Mercy, Mercy" which was recorded by Wally Heider. I think there aren't any close mics on the drums, just overheads and maybe a mic in front of the bass drum.
 

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He grew up in Vaudeville and was put in his parents act from about 18 months old tapping on a drum. By 4 years old he had a spot all his own. He learned to tap dance, acquired comedic timing - the hard way, (Buddy played an audience stooge for $10 a week to feed his family!), sang on occasion and kept on playing drums watching Chick Webb, Orchestral drummer Billy Gladstone, Gene Krupa, Dave Tough and Tony Briglia from The Casa Loma Orchestra. Buddy had control and speed and flair! If Gene brought the drums to the forefront for a nightly drum solo, Buddy demanded same from his employers & played 3 times faster laying everything he had out there. By the 50's Buddy's precision was second to none and he learned an incredible lesson in drumming of 'building solo intensity' and never letting up. He started to use his left hand more to fill in the spaces between what his right hand accented on the snare drum in rim shots, toms and his right foot bass drum hits. This helped maintain the intensity in his solos and built that audience excitement. He found a way between wrist & of finger control that gave him economy of motion to play machine gun rolls without ever lifting his arms. In fact if you see him playing a 5-Stroke roll around the drums, Buddy's body barely moves. He had terrible posture though and I'm convinced that a man of his stature should have sat much lower. But he was a commander and sat up high barking out cues and drive to his men from way back in the Dorsey days to keep the band intense. The Bus Tapes and all the military drilling for perfection was Buddy demanding from his band correct notes played with excitement and intensity. He was a true showman who never milked it when he went out in from of the public. Joe Morello attested that Buddy practiced tirelessly on his technique and once he hit the Magazine Polls he strove to stay there as Number One. Even the Tonight Show performances had Buddy in the green room warming up on a practice pad an hour before going on to play. When asked there 'why he still did that because after all, he was the greatest', he replied, "This is why I am the greatest." A Natural? To a degree. But I followed Buddy since I was 12 years old and I believe that he worked his a** off to get to the top.
 

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Especially, seeing him live. The power and energy that came off the bandstand was incredible.
I saw him and his band live twice. Your comment is absolutely spot on. I'd also add that the musicianship was incredible too. That's when I really understood how well Buddy grooved and played for the music. He's best known for his mind blowing drum solos. But I enjoy his musical playing every bit as much as I enjoy the solo work.
 

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Regarding Buddy's sound on the Tonight Show appearances, I don't like the sound of the drums on any of them. Firstly, television audio in those days was very limited, with most of the bandwidth on the tape allotted to video, the drum kit was usually rented and set-up quickly, and miking was also set-up quick and minimal. I've seen Buddy live maybe 25 times, and I can tell you that you haven't really experienced Buddy Rich unless you have seen and heard him in person.
Not just for sound. But, to experience a tidal wave of musical intensity unlike any other you are likely to experience . . . except Duffy Jackson.
 

ChrisBabbitt

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Regarding drum sound: Buddy used open, ringy drums (well, felt strips on the bass), tuned to project. (he would say he just "tensioned" them). That sound sometimes didn't translate well to close mics from the 70s on. Soundwise I particularly like the late 60s recordings, such as "Mercy, Mercy" which was recorded by Wally Heider. I think there aren't any close mics on the drums, just overheads and maybe a mic in front of the bass drum.
Wally Heider was the best. He did many remote recordings of the great big bands, including Basie, Woody Herman, Kenton and the great Terry Gibbs Dream band. I believe his recordings stand out above all the others. One of the great moments of my life was sitting behind Wally in his remote trailer during the recording of Buddy's "Big Swing Face" at The Chez in Hollywood. It was amazing hearing that great band coming live off the big monitor speakers with the brand new 8-track tape machine (the first in Los Angeles) whirling away next to me.
 

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Wally Heider was the best. He did many remote recordings of the great big bands, including Basie, Woody Herman, Kenton and the great Terry Gibbs Dream band. I believe his recordings stand out above all the others. One of the great moments of my life was sitting behind Wally in his remote trailer during the recording of Buddy's "Big Swing Face" at The Chez in Hollywood. It was amazing hearing that great band coming live off the big monitor speakers with the brand new 8-track tape machine (the first in Los Angeles) whirling away next to me.
Heider was a major player of a dying breed. Their minimalist miking techniques stand out amidst the over-miked, over-produced stuff that's common today... proving once again less really is more.
 

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I spent the last 2 nights watching him. I know it's different, as I wasn't there, but what I see is a drummer who not only played everything faster, and cleaner than I'd ever heard anyone, but his confidence, and public personality made him "Buddy"
I dld know more than I thought of what he was doing, even some phrasing, but thst isn't human.
It's like a pro MLB pitcher coming into the league with 130 mph fast ball. Maybe he only knew 2 pitches, but he wouldn't be beat.
He'd be a 300 game winner his 1st 300 starts lol
 


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