Poll: Are you a Buddy Rich fan? Yes or No

Are you a fan of Buddy Rich?


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dale w miller

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Im not sure how old you are Dale, but things were different BITD. We as a people, were a tougher bunch and we put up with a lot more from bosses and those in charge.

As I said in another post, the typical New Yorker wouldn’t have blinked an eye at Buddy’s behavior, because we were all like him to some degree. I’m not sure what years you lived in Brooklyn but the Brooklyn of the 60s to the 90s is not the Brooklyn of today, not by a long shot! I started in NYC construction in 83, and I can tell you it was rough and tough and if you couldn’t handle the screaming and yelling and maybe worse, you were out. It’s just the way it was and it was accepted. Of course, we have softened up over the years, which I guess is a good thing, but I do sort of miss the grit and toughness of those good ol days! :sad:
If you’re going to be a snowflake if the bandleader yells at you, then you certainly have the right to pack up and go home. The education you got by playing with Buddy was worth more than $100,000. These are kids right out of college throwing clams during the 2 hours every day they were working for Buddy. Once or twice, if you were giving 100%, was forgiven...continued clams and lazy, entitled attitude when it affected the band’s reputation was not. Not everyone should get a trophy for “participating”. You don’t want the job? Ten other guys are dying to take it.
First all, I lived in Brooklyn in the 90’s. I left to Asbury Park because all of the yuppies kept moving in raising the rent and sterilizing the neighborhood to the point that the artist were leaving. I was even mugged on the subway platform by a crackhead and I still lived there another couple of years afterwards until late ‘02, so don’t give me this “tough’n up” garbage.

Every band I play with is from Brooklyn, so even though I left, I am still there all of the time and I know the difference. You just don’t speak that way to people and anyone who was raised right knows this. Next thing you know you’re going to tell me that using racial and homophobic slurs are okay too and if I was tough enough I could handle it.

Let’s not pretend for a second too that Buddy was doing this out of the goodness of his heart, to be a father figure and give these boys an education. He probably could only play with people that young because the older players wouldn’t be spoken to in this manner or get paid next to nothing.

And I only got one trophy in my life and that was when my swim team won the regional championship.
 

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CherryClassic

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I voted YES. I enjoyed watching his unbelievable abilities and showman ship. The band was amazing. I feel there were other drummers that I felt also had the speed but more musical in their playing.

sherm
 

dcrigger

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I can’t believe you guys are defending this behavior. You would have to be paying me at least a few hundred thousand dollars a year to put up with that.

I have been in a situation where the leader mislead the comfort and accommodations of the tour be it the size of the vehicle or sleeping arrangements. Even with the modest pay I agreed to, I was still chasing him for money.

Perhaps it was the stress of money, but one day he flipped on me about a particular performance. Even though we were in LA at that point of the tour and I lived in Brooklyn at the time, I immediately quit right then & there. I shipped my gear back, stayed at a friend’s for a few days and then flew home.

I can put up with a lot, but there is no way I’m putting up with being talked down to and yelled.

Dale - all good points, but.....

It All Depends On The Gig

I've done everything you've described - walked away from situations that were uncool. Stood my ground on money, on agreed to amenities, etc. - and usually having to put the gig on the line each time to do so.

And while all gigs are important, surely you realize that some can be more important than others.

For this conversation to make any sense, I think we need to raise the bar and focus only on gigs that could be called “the highly coveted gig” - gigs at the top of their fields and genres. Gigs that the player’s doing full well expect to walk away with a valuable credit, a widely recognized mark of distinction or at least the feeling of having taken some goal all of the way to its endgame and having succeeded.

There are, of course, levels to these - before even getting into personal priorities. There’s landing a chair in a full time professional symphony, and then there’s landing a position with the New York Phil. There’s landing a gig with a well known, headlining jazz artist and then landing the gig with Miles.

Needless to say, these are all gigs where supply greatly exceeds demand.

Buddy’s band had long been one of those gigs. In the 80’s, it was even more so. Why? Because if your dream was to play every night with a top flight, full size big band.... the Buddy Rich Orchestra was about the only place left for realizing that dream. Few were touring regularly at all - and some of those, like Maynard, had stripped the band size down considerable. And while many of us didn’t have that particular dream, tons of those jazz performance majors at Berklee, North Texas and countless other colleges certainly did.

So what’s it take to be a player in such situations - be it the Rich band or the NY Phil?

Well first would be being able to play at that high of level. Well that’s easy to sort out - hold auditions or with a band like Buddy hire a new guy on for a week…. Plenty of time for them to either sink or swim. If they crash and burn right away - send them home with their week’s pay and get someone else in. But again, that’s the easy part - do the sink or swim?

The hard part is finding players that can function at that level every night, night after night, when they’re tired. when the flight was late, so you get to the first Europe gig after 20 hours of travel, with only 2 hours to spare, when they’re so sick they should be in bed (though not in the hospital - can they keep playing like they did that first week - over and over - night after night - town after town - show after show… over and over and over again.

That’s challenging enough to do when the gig os easy. And face it - most paying gigs are relatively easy. We are hired to play things far less challenging than what we are capable of. Gigs where we have the mental space to drift a bit. Not focus all the time. And the gig ends up suffering no one bit.

But often these “coveted gigs” aren’t like that at all. Either they are so challenging that they simply require full attention just to play the music. Or they are at the level of no flaws are ever acceptable. It’s like mistakes can happen - but they better not very often (or it will be a problem). The Bacharach gig was likely that - never at all difficult to play. But the “no note out of place” standard that was maintain was a challenge. For a long time, I kind of kept track of the full on mistakes I’d made - and the count was around 4 or 5 at the time I’d been with him 30 years.

OK - so Buddy’s rants… have you noticed that all of Buddy’s rants all grow out of “not giving your all” not “ doing the job”… This is the real past college, where Buddy has no responsibility to teach anyone to play. He already confirmed each player could play when they came on the band.

This is all about maintaining that level. And the rants are about making it clear that “not maintaining that level” is simply unacceptable. And I can honestly say it is a rant in one form or another, I’ve witnessed every bandleader I’ve ever worked with have to do at some point or another.

And yes, the higher up the food chain the gig is - the less and less sugar coating the rant, the pitch, the admonishment has. And the highest levels, it is assumed that the boss doesn’t need to ask nice because you are darn well supposed to know this. Because if you don’t - then what the heck are you doing on MY gig?

In the Buddy Tapes period, we had Buddy confronting some members of a band that didn’t see the gig as requiring playing to the highest standard they were capable of, if they were born, tired, or whatever. That the gig didn’t pay enough or whatever. But the fact is - there is no excuse for ever playing less than you are capable of. If you don’t want the lousy paying job then turn it down. But if you take, you do your best.

Listen through Buddy’s rants and that’s what he’s saying, in every one. And… the fact he’s doing it - means he needed to, Because I know tons of Rich band alumni that say there was never any of that going on on their tours. He was saying what he was saying to see if these guys would grow up and meet the requirements of the gig. Instead of just letting the problem players go (always time consuming and expensive) and trying the new ones.

I think too many folks go all school mom on the tone and language of these - these weren’t grade school kids getting a talking down by their principal. These were cocky young men - each having grown up from high school though college as the hottest player around. They sat in the top chairs of the top bands in the top jazz schools - and now, they were expected to really work. Not just practice for the big concert. No, play the big concert, over and over again, night after night, week after week. “To heck with that, how dare Buddy demand I work that hard. Doesn’t he know how great I play???”

Helping a young adult player get through that nonsense - that’s what those rants are about. And I get that most players have ever sat through similar “talking to’s” while staring down at their shoes. And think - “I would never allow another adult to talk to me like that”

And they’d have every right to feel that way - to walk out and never look back.

But then they would also have to face that they failed at their dream…. their dream of successfully doing a gig like that. Because succeeding is not about doing it for a day or two - but until they reach the point where when they finally choose to leave the gig, that leader or conductor says “Well, I’m sorry to see you go”, then they haven’t succeeded at all. They gave it a shot - they got close - but they really didn’t succeed.

If that makes any sense...
 

hsosdrum

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Just as a conversation point not to be too challenging.
Name the section players that left or after it ran course sideman of the BR big band that the Bud gig helped their resume
I'll go first.
Pat LaBarbera
Gene Perla?


help me out
trumpet, bass, trombone..others
Any time you work with a "name" artist it helps your resume, as long as you do the networking on top of everything else you must do to keep the gig (top-drawer playing, good attitude, dependable work habits, etc.). One of Buddy's sidemen who became a successful session player is trumpeter Chuck Findley.

My ex father-in-law was an extremely successful session musician in L.A. with a 40+ -year career. He got his first break from Louie Bellson, who hired him for his big band in the late '60s. He always told me that the thing that enabled him to parlay that break into a successful career was his ability to network with everyone he came in contact with. That provided him with opportunities; his skill and work ethic enabled him to succeed at those opportunities, which he was then able to turn into a career.
 

musicman64

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Appreciated his ability, style and public promotion of " the drummer". Here are some early pics of some of the Noble & Cooley children's sets, that passed through my hands many years ago . Golden Beat & Rhythm Pro..back in the 90's, I think one even went to Australia, but my memory fades
 

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Old Drummer

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I voted no, but it was a tough vote. My problem with Buddy is that I never liked his playing in the sense that it didn't please me musically. I don't deny that he was good, and if the poll asked whether I admire him, I'd vote yes. But a fan? No, probably not.
 

dcrigger

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Well I thought the question was asked, if there was anyone beyond Pat La Barbera that used their stint with Buddy as a launching pad for their careers. And even though the question seem to be gone - and though I thought I knew some - I really wasn't sure for how many folks it was their "first big gig". And in light of my earlier post regarding "coveted gigs" - I thought checking into this BR trivia might shed some light on how important the right gig can be. Our careers our literally built from recommendations. And thus the answer to the question "Yeah, but who has he played with?" - which always comes up when ever anyone is trying recommend you - is always a big deal.

So from the best I can tell - the first national album credit all of these players, except for a couple of exception which I note, was with The Buddy Rich Orchestra. Some of these folks have huge lists of credits - and chronologically, all the way down at the bottom of the list - is their appearance on a Buddy Rich album.

Saxophones:

Ernie Watts - then 1600+ album listings on AllMusic for just about everyone from Charlie Haden to Steely Dan to the Rolling Stones

Don Menza - was a known commodity, but his stint with Buddy brought him international recognition - kicking starting a career lasting through this day.

Richie Cole - many later credits and a few dozen solo albums

Quinn Davis - then Stan Kenton

Bob Mintzer - only his 3rd album credit - has gone on to be…. well, Bob Mintzer.

Pete Yellin - 5 solo albums and years of jazz credits, including the Bob Mintzer Band

Trumpets:

Lin Biviano - then Count Basie, Milt Jackson, etc.

Sal Marquez - then Frank Zappa (Waka.Jawaka period) and many other credits

Mike Price - mainstay of the lA jazz and studio scene - Toshiko, Michael Franks

Greg Hopkins - then many jazz credits as trumpet and arranger (both of which he first did for Rich) plus 3 solo albums

Ross Konicoff - then years on Broadway, Cats Original Cast Album

Bobby Shew - then Toshiko, Bellson, years of LA sessions and 20+ albums as a solo artist

Chuck Findley - then literally hundreds recordings as AAA LA session player

Trombones:

Alan Kaplan - Don Ellis, Barry Manilow, Harry Connick - dozens and dozens of pop credits, plus played trombone on at least half of the big movie scores recorded in LA over the past 25 years/

Jim Trimble - long career after Rich

Rick Stepton - dozens of credits

John Leys - then LA studio continuing to today

Bass:

Bob Magnusson - then Sarah Vaughn, John Klemmer, Herb Albert, and dozens of other jazz credits, plus LA studio work, plus 8 solo albums

Joel DiBartolo - Bellson, Bob Florance, then the Tonight Show Band bassist for over 20 years - plus two solo albums.

I'm not saying that there weren't other guys who used their Rich credit to move forward with their careers - many I recognized as having come from the Kenton band or the Herman band - but as Buddy wasn't their first break I left them out. Tons of others I just didn't recognize. About half of these I know or have played with - the others are just recognizable names.

So yes credits ar e a big deal. And to not recognize that the Buddy Rich Band was one of the last 4 or 5 full time touring real big bands (Ellington, Basie, Herman, Kenton and Rich) and by the only end... literally only Rich is fairly absurd. In the world of big band music from 1966 well into the late 80's, playing with the Buddy Rich Orchestra was indeed a coveted gig.
 

studrum

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Well I thought the question was asked, if there was anyone beyond Pat La Barbera that used their stint with Buddy as a launching pad for their careers. And even though the question seem to be gone - and though I thought I knew some - I really wasn't sure for how many folks it was their "first big gig". And in light of my earlier post regarding "coveted gigs" - I thought checking into this BR trivia might shed some light on how important the right gig can be. Our careers our literally built from recommendations. And thus the answer to the question "Yeah, but who has he played with?" - which always comes up when ever anyone is trying recommend you - is always a big deal.

So from the best I can tell - the first national album credit all of these players, except for a couple of exception which I note, was with The Buddy Rich Orchestra. Some of these folks have huge lists of credits - and chronologically, all the way down at the bottom of the list - is their appearance on a Buddy Rich album.

Saxophones:

Ernie Watts - then 1600+ album listings on AllMusic for just about everyone from Charlie Haden to Steely Dan to the Rolling Stones

Don Menza - was a known commodity, but his stint with Buddy brought him international recognition - kicking starting a career lasting through this day.

Richie Cole - many later credits and a few dozen solo albums

Quinn Davis - then Stan Kenton

Bob Mintzer - only his 3rd album credit - has gone on to be…. well, Bob Mintzer.

Pete Yellin - 5 solo albums and years of jazz credits, including the Bob Mintzer Band

Trumpets:

Lin Biviano - then Count Basie, Milt Jackson, etc.

Sal Marquez - then Frank Zappa (Waka.Jawaka period) and many other credits

Mike Price - mainstay of the lA jazz and studio scene - Toshiko, Michael Franks

Greg Hopkins - then many jazz credits as trumpet and arranger (both of which he first did for Rich) plus 3 solo albums

Ross Konicoff - then years on Broadway, Cats Original Cast Album

Bobby Shew - then Toshiko, Bellson, years of LA sessions and 20+ albums as a solo artist

Chuck Findley - then literally hundreds recordings as AAA LA session player

Trombones:

Alan Kaplan - Don Ellis, Barry Manilow, Harry Connick - dozens and dozens of pop credits, plus played trombone on at least half of the big movie scores recorded in LA over the past 25 years/

Jim Trimble - long career after Rich

Rick Stepton - dozens of credits

John Leys - then LA studio continuing to today

Bass:

Bob Magnusson - then Sarah Vaughn, John Klemmer, Herb Albert, and dozens of other jazz credits, plus LA studio work, plus 8 solo albums

Joel DiBartolo - Bellson, Bob Florance, then the Tonight Show Band bassist for over 20 years - plus two solo albums.

I'm not saying that there weren't other guys who used their Rich credit to move forward with their careers - many I recognized as having come from the Kenton band or the Herman band - but as Buddy wasn't their first break I left them out. Tons of others I just didn't recognize. About half of these I know or have played with - the others are just recognizable names.

So yes credits ar e a big deal. And to not recognize that the Buddy Rich Band was one of the last 4 or 5 full time touring real big bands (Ellington, Basie, Herman, Kenton and Rich) and by the only end... literally only Rich is fairly absurd. In the world of big band music from 1966 well into the late 80's, playing with the Buddy Rich Orchestra was indeed a coveted gig.
This list is astonishing and kind of says it all. Though I knew about a few of these, I had no idea there were that many!
 

LouPLant

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Don Famularo gets into how Buddy Rich was and his take on why. I think he's a fan!
I think it goes with the territory that a conductor or leader of a large orchestra or big band is going to be a bit of a drill sergeant. I’ve played in a symphonic band and a big band in which players were yelled at during rehearsals all the time for various reasons. Imagine an 80+ year old grandma french horn player getting yelled at for talking while the conductor was giving direction. She didn’t bat an eye. They have to rule with a bit of an iron fist to keep discipline with such large bands.
 

dale w miller

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OK - so Buddy’s rants… have you noticed that all of Buddy’s rants all grow out of “not giving your all” not “ doing the job”… This is the real past college, where Buddy has no responsibility to teach anyone to play. He already confirmed each player could play when they came on the band.
Though your points could be true, how do you know that his behavior wasn’t at all like the experience I was in to where he was just in a miserable mood that day? Perhaps, he is just jackass and no one has the guts to stand up to him because he’s the “greatest drummer ever”. It’s like someone’s dad flipping out over a bad day at work which has nothing to do with you.

Listen through Buddy’s rants and that’s what he’s saying, in every one. And… the fact he’s doing it - means he needed to, Because I know tons of Rich band alumni that say there was never any of that going on on their tours.
This I’m glad to hear.

And they’d have every right to feel that way - to walk out and never look back.

But then they would also have to face that they failed at their dream…. their dream of successfully doing a gig like that. Because succeeding is not about doing it for a day or two - but until they reach the point where when they finally choose to leave the gig, that leader or conductor says “Well, I’m sorry to see you go”, then they haven’t succeeded at all. They gave it a shot - they got close - but they really didn’t succeed.

If that makes any sense...
The thing is there are plenty of other people in the same league I am happy to play in who are cool and when I am on tour playing 1 hour and hanging with these people for 23 they better be. I’m not sitting next to someone in some van or bus who I can’t stand.
 

JimmySticks

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First all, I lived in Brooklyn in the 90’s. I left to Asbury Park because all of the yuppies kept moving in raising the rent and sterilizing the neighborhood to the point that the artist were leaving. I was even mugged on the subway platform by a crackhead and I still lived there another couple of years afterwards until late ‘02, so don’t give me this “tough’n up” garbage.

Every band I play with is from Brooklyn, so even though I left, I am still there all of the time and I know the difference. You just don’t speak that way to people and anyone who was raised right knows this. Next thing you know you’re going to tell me that using racial and homophobic slurs are okay too and if I was tough enough I could handle it.

Let’s not pretend for a second too that Buddy was doing this out of the goodness of his heart, to be a father figure and give these boys an education. He probably could only play with people that young because the older players wouldn’t be spoken to in this manner or get paid next to nothing.
Buddy wasn’t raised right. He had a very tough childhood and things didn’t get any better in his teens. But that was actually pretty typical for the kids of his generation, especially in places like Brooklyn, where money was always tight and you had to be tough or you got eaten alive. My father and most of my friends fathers were much the same and wouldn’t have blinked an eye at Buddies behavior. Big families, raised during the depression with no money, poor education, then went off to war young, and if they survived, they quickly married. It wasn’t much of a life.
 

Tornado

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Big families, raised during the depression with no money, poor education, then went off to war young, and if they survived, they quickly married. It wasn’t much of a life.
Or maybe that was an amazing life. That kind of life has produced some amazing people. I think we lose something in our modern lives of comfort and convenience.
 

JimmySticks

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Or maybe that was an amazing life. That kind of life has produced some amazing people. I think we lose something in our modern lives of comfort and convenience.
Yeah, great point!

I guess that’s why they were called,”The Greatest Generation”.
 

Matched Gripper

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Don Famularo gets into how Buddy Rich was and his take on why. I think he's a fan!
WOW! What a great interview! Thanks for posting! Who knew Buddy was a martial arts instructer in the Marines? Seriously?
 
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JDA

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How can you claim to be a drummer and not be a Buddy Rich fan? Was there ever a drummer with a greater command of the instrument?
In a traditional sense you have a point; he didn't do "loose" too well.. imo..
he didn't do "implied" wasn't big on "shading" just my opinion which doesn't add up to beans..
may have lacked " color"....etc

(So as a drummer we each reserve the right to analyse fully (as a personal opinion...) nobody walks on water) etc
Nobody walks on water I think we can all agree on that one.

Scott : ) :!!
 
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