Buddy Rich  - 

September 30, 1917 April 2, 1987

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Quotes on Buddy Rich

Gene Krupa

"I don't know if he learned anything from me, but I certianly learned a lot from him".

Ray Mckinley

"I think Buddy Rich is far and away the greatest drummer who ever lived".

Stanley Kay

"He was put on earth to play drums"

Joe Morello

"Give him a long drum solo and he'll just blow the place up".

Ed Thigpen

"Buddy Rich is just incredible. He's a great, fantastic player. If it can be done on a drum, he can do it.......... I've heard people say he doesn't swing. I think he swings. I used to practice with the things he does. I've heard it said he's not subtle. I've heard him be so subtle, so gentle. This man can play".

Ralph j.Gleason

"Rich is a superb drummer. He has the kind of technique on drums that Art Tatum had on piano. He can play anything he can think of with all the speed and dexterity and flexibility necessary".

Jo Jones

"That damn fool knows the instrument".

Bobby Scott

"I remember Gene Krupa once said that Buddy was 'outside of it '. By this he meant, there were drummers and then there was Buddy".

Mel Torme

"I've heard him in every circumstance. And of all the drummers I've been around over the years, Buddy Rich is the consummate genius of the drums. He's like Tazio Nuvolari was with the racing car. he had complete control".

Mel Lewis

"Buddy has somthing no other drummer had, or will ever have. I don't know how it came about and I don't think he does either. It doesn't matter".

Jim Jampin

"Buddy summarizes all that has happend on drums throughout the history of jazz and popular music".

Grady Tate

"Buddy, Max and Blakey - these people are godlike to me....... Buddy's the kind of cat that I would pay to listen to and watch. Just solos, you know. I don't necessarily want to hear him with a band. I've heard him with a band a thousand times. But just to dig his solos, I'd pay money and sit down. He's somthing else".

Phil Leshin

"I stood next to Buddy night after night, week after week, month after month, under good conditions and bad - on theater stages, in airplane hangers, school gymnasiums, and nightclubs - and heard this guy play. He never ceased to amaze me, particularly those solos".

George Simon

The more I hear him play, the harder it is to belive.....It is my feeling that when jazz history is set down, this tremendously inspiring, swinging drummer will go down, along with Davey Tough, as the man on his instrument.

Gene Krupa

     Truly a remarkable young man and one for whom I have sincere admiration, musically and other wise. I like the way Buddy literally dances drums. Of the younger crop, he is, to put it mildly, outstanding. I suspect a good deal of my profound esteem for him is governed by the fact that, while he is young and performs refreshingly, there is that quality of sureness present which denotes absolute control, acquired only by long and good experience.

Joe Morello

I guess most people think of me as a small-group drummer; so it was fun to play against type. With small-group stuff, it's interplay that's crucial. when you're working a big band, it's holding the band together, cuing the brass that's important. I love it because you can hit the drums a little bit harder, keep the horses going down the right path. "Drumorello" is a thing that was written for me way back. It's just a set-up for the drums.Buddy's reputation as a hothead came from being a perfectionist: He used to argue with Dorsey, and Tommy was a perfectionist as well. There have been so many stories about him being a rough guy but he was always a gentleman with me. If we were in the same town, he'd always call up and invite me over to his gigs. I think the reason he liked me was because I didn't play like him. There are several guys from my generation who tried to ape Buddy, doing all the solos and battles. But no one will ever equal what he did in that style, not the way he played it. These guys had great facility; but you have to be original to have the spark.

    I think I was one of the few guys who practiced with Buddy. One time in San Francisco, we were at the Shrine Auditorium and he was in Oakland with Harry james. We went back to the hotel, and it was late. He'd just got some new cymbals from Zildjian. It was 3 a.m. "Look at these," he says. Crash, crash, splash! I said, "Hey man, you're going to get us thrown out of here, Buddy?' "Screw 'em." Then he started pounding out some beats on the wall, and I'm thinking about jail. He takes out some sticks, "Whaddya think of these?" and all of a sudden it's 6 a.m. and we're banging out rolls. It was great. He'd say to me, "What do you think of so-and-so's playing?" I'd say, "Yeah, he's ok'. Buddy would say "Oh come on, he sounds like he's rumbling down the staircase." I'd laugh and laugh at his honesty.

Max Roach

{interviwed whilst recording  Burnig for Buddy}

    Buddy's band was one of the few left after the demise of the big-band period. [Count] Basies, Duke [Ellington]'s, Woody [Herman]'s . . . only a few lasted through the heavy expenses of road travel. They were the only ones making noise. Plus, that's a great band. So I think we all were involved for the same reasons out of respect for Buddy's contributions, and what he did for people.
    Buddy and I had plenty of wars together! One of the most memorable was when I started to win the polls in the magazines, "the youngster from New York," you know? I was invited to Southern California, and was escorted by Clark Terry. It was Buddy, Gene Krupa, and Louie Belison. Me, Dizzy [Gillespie], and Bird [Charlie Parker] were the talk of the town, and I felt good, really strong. But I knew who I was up against. Buddy was strong that day, but the guy who took out everybody was Gene. He razzle-dazzled the shit out of us. Buddy and I were competing with each other, and we learned a real lesson from Gene that day. Play to the audience. He had them rolling in the aisles. Ha! It was a lesson in show biz that Buddy never forgot.
    He was more than just a natural, he was a phenomenal technician, too. Shit, he knew the instrument inside and out. He took some really hip solos. I grew up watching him develop "Quiet Please." He was one of the guys who helped bring percussion out to the front. You know the old jokes: "Who's in the band? Three musicians and a drummer." Some guys really believed that. We had to endure a lot of that crap. So Buddy's talent, and that of Chick Webb, Gene Krupa, and a few others turned that around. It's much more than just keeping time for everybody.

Billy Cobham

{interviwed whilst recording  Burnig for Buddy}

Going into the session, I tried to figure out what was expected, recall the Buddy Rich concept, think of how he projected his ideas through music.
        Buddy would call upon his band to reach a certain level that he imagined, and sometimes the band couldn't provide it. I can see how frustration would set in. But he asked that of himself, too. And even his own body couldn't always provide that level. The mind had it, he heard it. But it was physically impossible. You try to do the best you can, and aim high, knowing that you might not achieve your goal. You aim for the horizon and figure if you get 500 yards out, you've made it. It's a heck of a lot better than standing on the shore your whole life. He aimed for things understanding that they might not be achievable. And he came real close.
There are people who provided major incentive for me, and Buddy was one. He played my instrument, I played his instrument. I had a guide in him, Max, Louie Bellson. They gave me a way to go, a path. These are the kinds of cats who lead bands whether it's their band or not. They lead by simply playing. That aggression was an important factor for me enjoying him.
        A drummer wants to sit behind the band because of practicality It's an effective place to be-giving the band security while still projecting yourself. But you don't just support the weaknesses of others. You try to provide an overall musical statement so that there is no doubt that without what you did, no one would play as effectively on either an individual basis or as part of the group. You're the spoon that stirs the soup. That's what Buddy did, and that's what I learned
from him.   



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