Down Beat Readers’ Best Drummers 1969

BennyK

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I have a small pile of old Downbeats and enjoy thumbing through them every so often .
 

paulwells73

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I’m thrilled that Joe Chambers just made it onto the list at 20. He’s one of my biggest influences and is a marvelous drummer who played on a ton of amazing records, but is supportive and understated enough to have not brought much attention to himself. Beautiful feel and sound, kind of like a Jim Gordon of 60s post/free-bop.
 

JimmySticks

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One of the reasons I despise Buddy. Grow up, dude.
I think you need to read a bit about the man.

He had a seriously difficult life, being on the road since he was two years old, dirt poor, traveling with an abusive father, never ever went to school, which made him easily intimidated around even modestly educated people. So he was never taught how to act around people. Drumming was the only reason he was put on this planet and for that, he was all in. So yeah, he took it personally when he wasn’t #1.

But there was a flip side to him, where he was very giving and warm as well. He is a complicated man, but most geniuses are.
 

bigbonzo

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I think you need to read a bit about the man.

He had a seriously difficult life, being on the road since he was two years old, dirt poor, traveling with an abusive father, never ever went to school, which made him easily intimidated around even modestly educated people. So he was never taught how to act around people. Drumming was the only reason he was put on this planet and for that, he was all in. So yeah, he took it personally when he wasn’t #1.

But there was a flip side to him, where he was very giving and warm as well. He is a complicated man, but most geniuses are.
Oh, I have read a couple books on the man. Still don't like him.

Besides, how he grew up, has nothing to do with throwing a stick at someone. You just don't do that. EVERYONE knows that!

The main reason I dislike him is because he was a total tool at a concert that I saw him at in Lakewood, OH in 1976.
 
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JDA

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I also heard he did similar intimidating stuff to Elvin. Showing up and sitting right up front to give him an earful of sarcasm.
Not sure you are correct 1) that Bud ever said anything 2) the night you're talking about is when Louie and Buddy (and Elvin) were all in London at the same time. Bud and Lou went to SEE Elvin... Elvin joked on stage " oh it's going to be one of those nights" (nice) and Buddy said to Lou " How does he (get that much sound out of that little bass"
I don't recall/believe/ recall Buddy saying anything disparaging about Elvin.
(in fact there's an old picture of Bud and Elvin yucking it up at a Newport one year, in an old Downbeat (Elvin actually has Buddy in his arms holding him like a little kid) Big smiles on both.

4) also Buddy did say ...once when Tony Williams was not 1st place in the Downbeat poll (the year Billy Cobham won) "What happened to Tony Williams?"
The Shelly story is +/- true but Shelly may have started it and been at fault (or misunderstood) (and Bud responded) .
Not sticking up for Buddy Just saying he didn't disparage many top tier jazz men.
 
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Scott K Fish

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Sounds like the Rich DNA is alive and well in the 21st century.
I would love to see some verification on some the alleged Rich snits with other drummers mentioned on this thread. I'm hearing about them for the first time. Not that I know everything, but I am suspicious of their authenticity.

During a Down Beat roundtable interview with Shelley Manne, Larry Bunker, Willie Bobo (I think), and others, Shelley was coaxed into saying he was (paraphrasing) blown away by Buddy's technique, but a few minutes after Buddy's solos ended, Shelley couldn't recall any single part of the solo.

That got Buddy angry and he offered to "drum battle" Shelley.

Conversely, Roy Haynes told me of a time he and Buddy were playing the same club. Roy was a new guy and, he said, freaked out about Buddy being onstage and in the house. During one set, Roy said, he, Roy, played a drum solo where everything came out great, perfect.

When Buddy came back onstage, with no prompting from Roy, praised Roy's solo and asked the audience to give Roy a round of applause.

Best,
skf
 

Scott K Fish

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I’m thrilled that Joe Chambers just made it onto the list at 20. He’s one of my biggest influences and is a marvelous drummer who played on a ton of amazing records, but is supportive and understated enough to have not brought much attention to himself. Beautiful feel and sound, kind of like a Jim Gordon of 60s post/free-bop.
I came across Joe Chambers relatively late -- not sure why. But he is one of my favorite drummers. A very tasty drummer. Always fun to hear.
 

pgm554

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So Buddy came in 2nd and Elvin came in next to last?
 

JDA

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Ed Blackwell makes the 69 list looks like for 1st time.
 

JDA

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Louie Bellson recalls Elvin’s unique small bass drum sound: “Buddy Rich and I were in London together. Buddy was there with his big band and I was there with Oscar Peterson. We both had the night off so we looked in the paper and saw that Elvin was playing at Ronnie Scott’s. We both said, ’Let’s go!’ We chose seats right in front of his bass drum. Buddy Rich and I both had big 24″ bass drums. I remember Buddy leaning over to me and asking, ’How does he get that sound out of that little bass drum?’”

that appeared first in a downbeat or melody maker or maybe even an early modern drummer...
 

Scott K Fish

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Jaimoe tells about seeing Elvin playing in NOLA with the Coltrane Quartet. His only drums were snare and bass drum. He played so well, Jaimoe stopped using tom-toms for a spell.
 

Morello Man

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I would love to see some verification on some the alleged Rich snits with other drummers mentioned on this thread. I'm hearing about them for the first time. Not that I know everything, but I am suspicious of their authenticity.

During a Down Beat roundtable interview with Shelley Manne, Larry Bunker, Willie Bobo (I think), and others, Shelley was coaxed into saying he was (paraphrasing) blown away by Buddy's technique, but a few minutes after Buddy's solos ended, Shelley couldn't recall any single part of the solo.

That got Buddy angry and he offered to "drum battle" Shelley.

Conversely, Roy Haynes told me of a time he and Buddy were playing the same club. Roy was a new guy and, he said, freaked out about Buddy being onstage and in the house. During one set, Roy said, he, Roy, played a drum solo where everything came out great, perfect.

When Buddy came back onstage, with no prompting from Roy, praised Roy's solo and asked the audience to give Roy a round of applause.

Best,
skf
 

Velociamator

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I lost my copy of down beat with the Buddy interview...or was it in two editions? Sad. Anyway, this thread reminds me of the time I was in a Benny Goodman Trio tribute group, clarinet, piano & me on the tubs. My bandmates told the story of being at a low-key kind of hotel gig in Hawaii, I think it was, where BR walked in and confronted the drummer. What he did was, he took away item after item from the drummer's outfit as he was playing, one item at a time. I thought this was a really cool version of "Whatcha got, kid?" But I wasn't there and I'd have been "nobody touches my stuff!"
 

Morello Man

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In a Down Beat Blindfold Test in ‘66, after listening to BR on a track, Shelly said something to the effect that, when he saw him in person he was awed, for the moment but that he wasn’t moved. Rich read that and commented something to the effect that, OK Shelly, take a shot. Look, they were only three years apart in age, grew up in New York and probably knew each other pretty well for a number of years. The notion that Rich went to the Manne Hole to intimidate Shelly is absurd. Flash forward to Europe in ‘78 and there is at least one photo of them hanging backstage most likely having a civil conversation. The notion, equally, that Rich went around with a grudge because he wasn’t winning the Down Beat Poll is absurd. He said in one interview that you don’t have to look at the polls to know you’re number one. When he was voted to the DB Hall of Fame, he was interviewed on Sid Mark’s TV show The Mark of Jazz, he pooh-poohed it with “There’s no real hall of fame” etc. For those not familiar with the DB Reader polls, the number in quotation marks indeed referred to the year before. Rich won in ‘41, ‘42 and ‘44 but there was a caveat - bandleaders weren’t eligible in those years so Gene Krupa wasn’t eligible. Rich placed first in the DB Critics Poll in ‘53 and ‘54 but it wasn’t until Rich was 50 that he placed first - with no strings attached - in the ‘67 DB Readers Poll. He placed first in ‘70, ‘71 and ‘72 and that was the last of him placing first in the DB Readers Poll. His big band never placed first in the Readers Poll; it won the Talent Deserving Wider Recognition category in the ‘68 DB Int’l Jazz Critics Poll and that was it. From what I’ve read (and seen in that Mark interview), polls meant little to nothing to him, and that didn’t make him unique among jazz musicians.
 

jaymandude

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I’m fairly certain Buddy trashed Down Beat big time after this and busted Elvins chops too. He went ballistic when one year Shelly Manne won. The story is he even went down to a club where Shelly was playing and openly mocked things Shelly played on the stand to intimidate Shelly into a self conscious state of mind. What was ridiculous was Shelly didn’t undermine Buddy’s greatness that year, the poll did. I also heard he did similar intimidating stuff to Elvin. Showing up and sitting right up front to give him an earful of sarcasm. But whereas Shelly would let it get to him, Elvin was smarter about it and would just take it for what it was, sophomoric hijinx.
I think that many of us here doubt your version of this. " Fairly certain", not sure it it's somthing you just picked up along the way.. But definitely the Ronnie Scott's story is more about love than intimidation, to myself and many other people...
 

yetanotherdrummer

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When I was young I would only buy Downbeat for the drum company ads, and the coupons that you could cut out and send in for free drum catalogs.
 

Scott K Fish

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I lost my copy of down beat with the Buddy interview...or was it in two editions? Sad. Anyway, this thread reminds me of the time I was in a Benny Goodman Trio tribute group, clarinet, piano & me on the tubs. My bandmates told the story of being at a low-key kind of hotel gig in Hawaii, I think it was, where BR walked in and confronted the drummer. What he did was, he took away item after item from the drummer's outfit as he was playing, one item at a time. I thought this was a really cool version of "Whatcha got, kid?" But I wasn't there and I'd have been "nobody touches my stuff!"
It’s one interview split into two issues. Feb 9 and 23, I believe.
 


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