Buddy Rich  - 

September 30, 1917 April 2, 1987

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Stories sent to me by fellow Buddy Rich fans


Story sent by Bill Cornelius

I worked at Long & McQuade Ltd. In Toronto assistant manager of Canada's
largest drum dept at that time.  The phone rings and it is Buddy Rich.  He
told me his left crash cymbal is broken.  I knew Buddy and knew what he
wanted.  My seats were reserved at Ontario Place so bring it down. The
customer in front of loved Buddy and when I told him what was up wanted the
cymbal to add to his collection on Buddy.  Once at Ontario Place I took the
cymbal to Buddy and my friend headed for the box.  Buddy and I were sitting
back having a drink when I asked him for a favor, please sign the cymbal.
He was laughing who would want to buy a broken cymbal.  I told Buddy about
my friend who was in the box waiting.  Buddy being the man he was signed the
cymbal to my friend and date it.  He even wanted me to give the guy a good
deal because it was broken.  It was time to play and Buddy went to the
revolving stage and I head to my seat holding the cymbal.  As the stage
turned and Buddy could see us he gave a salute and way.  While a 29 year old
man was crying he was so happy because of the kindness the great Buddy Rich
had payed him.  The cymbal is incased in it own frame and glass now.  It
will always be a tribute to the one and only Buddy Rich.
I was blessed JB I met and became friends with all my drumming hero's but
one Philly Joe Jones.  Buddy and I had the same back operation and did we
get a laugh when we checked out each others scars.  I thought Count Basie
was going to have a fit he was laughing so hard.  You know Buddy and his
wit.  Not sure what he said but the whole room was in stitches.  Buddy was
my friend, drumming hero, and treated me super.  I have heard him talk about
other drummers especially Gene Krupa.  He was a fan of Gene's. as Gene was a
fan of his.  He just did not like most rock drummers because he could play
rock better than they would ever on there best day.  But that was the great

Sent by Kendall Garner

When I was a freshman, at the University of Illinois in the fall of 1980, I 
had the pleasure of seeing Buddy and his band perform there at the 
University's Krannert Center (It was in late September of 1980).  Buddy took 
a break for a few minutes and came down from his drum riser, grabbed a 
microphone and began talking to the audience about some of his experiences in 
the music business.  

It struck me as odd he neglected the tradition of introducing the members of 
his band - having them each stand for a moment of recognition.  It was while 
he was speaking during his break a person in the front row yelled, "Hey 
Buddy, how about introducing the band members."  Without missing a beat Buddy 
fired back, "That's not necessary.  They all know each other by now."    With 
that, he climbed back on the riser, began the second half of the show and 
never introduced the band members to the audience that night.

Story sent by Joseph Echols

I had the great priviledge of meeting Buddy in person while I was in
ninth grade.  He had a small band and was performing in a fire hall in
New Jersey at the time ( late 1970"s ).  I have been a drummer since
forth grade and was awed by this mans presence.  He is probably the most
gracefull player I had ever seen.  Anyway, when half the gig was over, he
came down from the stage and sat in the back of the hall with his wife. 
At the time, he had just released an album called "Stick It" and there
were some copies there for sale.  My mom offered to buy one for me, and
then suggested that I ask Buddy to autograph it.  At first I was a little
apprehensive to say the least, but when I approached him and asked for
his autograph, he was extremely cordial.  He introduced his wife to me,
signed the album, and made small talk for a few minutes.  I have never
forgotten that day.  I still play in bands regularly, but every time I
here jazz, or see a white pearl set of drums, I think of Buddy.  He was
truly one of a kind.

Story sent by Kevin Taylor

I saw Buddy Rich 11 times.  All of the shows made me cry with joy, but this 
particular evening was my favorite.  My father and I went to see Buddy at Six 
Flags over Texas in 1979, I was wearing my t-shirt that said,"Mr. Humble 
Fan".  Johnny Carson called Buddy Mr. Humble.  I knew Buddy liked Johnny 
Carson and I hoped that he would see my shirt.  As the light rain started, 
and the stage lights came on, the band members came on one at a time without 
Buddy.  The mc announced that Buddy would be a few minutes late.  All of the 
sudden, from backstage, Buddy literally limped out with a cast on his right 
foot, a cheeseburger in his left hand, and a coca-cola in his right.  He had 
on jeans and a sweatshirt, he sat behind his drums and kept eating.  As the 
audience started snickering, he yelled out and said,"Hey look, it's Mr. 
Humble!!" and had me stand up.  Then he said,"I'll be with you in a minute."  
He finished his meal, kicked in to his first tune, literally blew the thunder 
clouds away, and played a two-hour show, never missing a beat.

This story and picture was sent byVinny Ozborne Jr.

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April 5th 1983.

It was a cold, wet & windy Irish night in Dublin City. I was 16 years of age & on my way to see my 1st Buddy Rich Concert at Dublin's National Concert Hall. My Dad worked nights back then so he drove me to the gig on his way to work which meant that I was at the venue from around 6:45pm. As I stood outside the venue trying my best to dodge the weather, I saw a Black Limo pull up & drive through the front gate & sitting in the back seat waving at me was Buddy Rich. I froze with the excitement. You see this was just 4 weeks after Buddy had undergone his "Quadruple Bypass Heart Surgery" I could not believe that I was so close to the man. At eight o'clock the show started with an explosive Buddy behind the kit, some people find it hard to walk after an operation like that & here was this man in his sixties playing stuff that was humanly impossible. I will always remember Buddy's opening remarks to the audience... "It's Good to See You, it's good to see anyone." The capacity audience was treated to mind boggling drumming, music, wit & charm.

The show finished & on my way out I noticed people were queuing at a door, I asked what for & was told that Buddy was signing autographs, so of course I joined the queue. About 15 minutes or so later, just as it was my turn to walk through the door, I heard a voice shout... "Unfortunately Mr. Rich has stopped." I could not believe it.

In a desperate panic I ran out the front door & down the side passage that I had seen Buddy's limo drive down on his arrival. When I arrived at the Stage Door I froze & hid behind a wall waiting for Buddy to get into his limo. As he did he was talking to some people & all I remember hearing him say was "Maybe We can meet for dinner tomorrow." With that I made a battle charge straight to him with my show programme in hand, screaming "Please Mr. Rich could I have your autograph." Buddy smiled & looked at me & said... "Sure Kid, but lets go back inside, it's freezing out here." So there I was standing side by side with God himself, I was physically shaking. Buddy signed my programme & I asked for a photo with him, nothing was a problem. When I took the camera out of my pocket I dropped it, because I was shaking so much. He had someone take two shots, just in case the first one did not come out & because I may of damaged my camera. He gave me a hug & shook my hand, I will always remember his departing comment to me... "Relax Kid, don't be so nervous, you'll give yourself a heart attack, trust me I know!"

And that was the way I spent Tuesday, April 5th 1983.

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Story Sent By ?

In 1968&1969, I was priveledged to see Buddy Rich at LENNIES` 5 times. It was 
a 2 hour drive from my home. I would bring along 3 or 4 friends of mine who 
were also drummers. There were 2 shows every time we went and we would see 
both shows. 2 times we got to sit 10 feet to buddy`s right and what a view we got of this 
genius!  At that time we thought we were very good drummers, untill we saw The Man at 
work. From our vantage point, we got to see him do things that to this day I`m not 
sure I can fully comprehend, but then no one else can either. 
He was an arrogant bastard , but genius takes one many faces and he was who 
he was nothing short of the best and most gifted entertainers I have or will 
ever see.

Story sent by Michail P Fischer

I first saw Buddy Rich in about 1974 at Mr. Kelley's on Rush Street in
Chicago.  The marquee read:  Buddy Rich and Six.  I was young and had not
been out much, so you can imagine how flabbergasted I was when I got a table
for dinner right up next to Buddy's drum set. Being quite naive, I asked the
waiter if I would be able to remain at that table when the band started.
WOW!  Talk about a ring-side seat, I was so close that when he lit up a
cigarette and got up to talk to the audience, the ashes could have dropped
right onto my table.  He was so fast, I could not believe it!  

I saw him many times there after:  Several consecutive years at Summefest in
Milwaukee, WI (and believe me, the crowd always went wild), twice at
Carthage College in Kenosha, WI, again in Kenosha at an outdoor event after
his heart attack, and once at a high school somewhere in Northern Illinois.
People were lined up for autographs, at the door of his bus following the
show at the high school.  He signed my copy of a Buddy Rich picture-type
book, flipping it open to a picture of him with his kit set up in front of a
skyscraper, and he signed it right across the Bass Drum.  

At one of the Carthage College performances, he was openly upset with who
ever was running the spotlight, as it was being shined right in his eyes.
He stopped his solo twice to sharply call out to the effect that he was
being blinded.  I know for a fact, this solo went on for just over a half
hour, and within that time Buddy played the hell out of everything in front
of him, including doing a minute or two of playing both sticks on the side
of his throne.  

Each of the above performances were better then the next, except he did seem
to have slowed a bit after his surgery.  He was still FANTASTIC by any

Story sent by Keith Werner

I was first made aware of BR's technical prowess as a high school freshman. 
In Chicago, 1962. My band director and the stage band drummer ( a senior ) 
turned  me on to some recordings from JATP and Buddy's "Carvan" album, with a 
sextet , I believe. Also the white jacketed"Krupa and Rich" (not Rich and 
Krupa) album. So I thought "Yeah .That's what I want to do".
    I worked at Franks drum shop for a couple of years, and saw Buddy visit 
several times. He was dear friends with Maury Lishon the owner of Franks and 
would stop in when he came to town.
" I Practiced, and Practiced, and Practiced, studying, transcribing, 
disecting, analizing, "COPYING" Buddy's style. I entered a contest in 1965 
sponsored by Ludwig drums and WCFL Radio. I was one of 20 finalists, who 
played 15 min. solos at at the world famous Aragon Ballroom, came in first, 
and was awarded the title of "Best Young Drummer in Chicago." I was ready! 
    In 1966, when Buddy did the T.V. show; "Away We Go," (summer replacment 
for the Jackie Gleason show, with George Carlin and Buddy Greco) I ran away 
from home to go challenge Buddy. I drove route 66, from Chicago to L.A., with 
my drums in the back seat and my ego in the trunk, (IT couldn't fit in the 
back seat) arriving in Los Angeles 
like a gunslinger looking for "Billy the Kid," I found the the show was being 
produced at CBS Television City in Hollywood. I got access through Norm 
Jefferies the drummer who played with Buddy's band behind the "acts" on the 
show. I got in the first day and watched rehearsal. No Buddy Rich. I slept in 
my car in the CBS parking lot. The next 
day, about 8:00 a.m. I saw a black Jaguar XKE covertable, pull into the lot. 
It was HIM. I went in for the days rehearsal and activities. Except for the 
Tonight Show, It was the first time I had seen Buddy play. I was "impressed" 
but I knew that my chance would come. I went to the sessions for three more 
days. In those three days I learned why Buddy Rich was acknowlegded as the 
"Greatest Drummer in the World". He got standing ovations from the stage 
crew, and cast, for solos he was playing for an approximate "time" for the 
numbers to be played on the show. On the show he was even more phenominal. I 
gathered my shattered dreams and (crying) called my folks back in Chicago, to 
send me the money to get home. I was humbled to met him before I left, but 
never made my "challenge". And I never again had the delusion that ANYONE 
could challenge him. It wasn't about his technique, or his chops. I saw the 
"force of nature" he commanded, which was not only indomitable, but most 
importantly, it was the original. The thing that so few people express, or 
understand, is that he was not only ABLE to do what he did, he was the SOURCE 
of what he did.
    Over the years I saw, and exchanged niceties with him 8 or 10 times. I 
couldn't quite bring myself to tell him this story. I bet he would have 
gotten a laugh out of it. 
I don't think anyone will ever have such a great influence, in any field of 
endeavor, as Buddy Rich had on playing the drums. Or affecting a reality 
check on a kid from Chicago, who was pretty good..... but not THAT GOOD. I'm 
so sorry he's gone. I'm so glad he was here. I still play, but with the 
understanding that all I can ever do is pay tribute to "The One and Only". 
And so I do.  Thanks Buddy.

Story sent by John H. Brinck, Jr.

I was recently into my 20's and basically had just arrived in Hawaii.  Don Ho took a liking to me, and soon I was being introduced to various musicians around the "OAHU" circuit.  At the time I was playing at a place called "Betty Reilly's Copacabana"..........Another drummer friend, Howard Carroll, one of the top jazz players in Waikiki at that time, lent Buddy his drum set to play at this particular club {can't remember the Club's name}.......

....at Betty Reilly's I was then playing with Anita O'Day; and I would, after playing, rush into Waikiki for Buddy's last show......I remember sitting in front and to the side [hi-hat] of him, and marveling at the dexterous control that each joint of each finger was used to control the sticks.....and I'm talking complete control.....those of us who have seen him this close will attest to the fact that Buddy never did anything by accident.....he had total control of the sticks, or mallets, or hands/fingers, or even two pencils I once saw Johnny Carson give him to play......Buddy played a perfect "press" roll with two stubby pencils!!!!!!!!!!......I've never been able to play a press role, even on a record player [smiles]....When Buddy had finished, my friend introduced me to him....I found him to be very cordial, with an extremely energetic personality......

........years passed and the next time I saw him was at the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco with one of his "college" big-bands.....this particular night he was extremely miffed (to put it mildly) at the bass player, who, according to Buddy's on-stage verbal abuses, was not playing the correct changes to get him in and out of his drum solos......I have seen both sides of Buddy - the charming, "bon-vivant", eclectic "purecussionist" that he was since childhood, and the irascible, irrational, contemptible, "poisionality" that he sometimes became.  However, through it all, in that great percussion section in the sky, I am sure that Buddy is, from time to time, the section leader....

.....I would like to remember the "greats" as being just that.....but I do have a bad cassette recording, recorded on a tour bus, as Buddy and one of his "college" bands are heading for L.A......and Buddy is in rare form with four, five, and ten letter expletives because the band, that particular evening, and especially one of the trumpet players, was not "on".  On the tape you can hear the trumpeter challenge Buddy's opinion of his playing, and the next thing you hear is Buddy yelling to "pull the bus over, and let this m....f...off; and then yelling the fact that the whole band was going to be replaced by "mature" musicians once they reached L.A., etc...etc...I, however, will not release this tape to anyone.  It demeans Mr. Rich, as it shows his "Hydish" self.

I, however, will remember the suave gentleman I met, listened to a few inches away from, shook hands with, and generally "percussively" studied that one evening in Waikiki.

 John H. Brinck, Jr.

Story sent by Alan Edmonds

I had the privilege of seeing Buddy perform about 6 times spanning about
12-13 years.  I started playing drums when I was 6 years old and listened to
Buddy and the band constantly during my childhood, teen years (my friends
didn't understand me) and still do today.  Thankfully they (whoever "they"
all are) seem to be re-releasing most of Buddy's recordings on CD.

The first time I saw Buddy was in February 1972 in Kansas City, MO at the
Landmark in Union Station.  I was 10 years old... and this was my birthday
present to see my hero.  My mother and father, my drum teacher and his wife
and the owner of the music store where I took lessons and his wife all went
to the show.  The Landmark was a true 70's lounge and got its' share of
great acts while open.  It was probably very close to the big lounges in
Vegas.  A huge room with a low ceiling.  The stage was in one corner of the
place and literally just a small, carpeted riser sitting on the dance floor
in the corner.  Tables, big and small were crammed in the place.

We arrived at the Landmark VERY early... I didn't have any idea how early...
paid our cover and proceeded to have the host lead us to a table.  The party
began winding its way to a table about half back in the room.  My drum
teacher walked up to the host and shook his hand, something I found strange.
They shook hands and leaned heads close and exchanged some words.  Then
suddenly the host smiled and started walking towards the bandstand.  He
didn't stop until we were at the table in the front row, directly in front
the Buddy's set.  I could not believe it!  I had no idea at the time how we
got so lucky... it was explained to me the next day at breakfast.  But what
an incredible birthday present.

There was two hours before the first set.  The stage was ready... everything
set up but the band was not there yet.  Buddy's drums were on the floor...
five feet from me.  It was a hardwood dance floor... and we were all amazed
to see his bass drum NAILED to the floor with four sixteen penny nails right
through the front rim.  Shortly before show time, the band started filing in
and poking their heads through the door that was at the back of the stage...
and suddenly, there was the man himself in an overcoat checking out the
situation.  My drum teacher and I both went back and were greeted cordially
along with several other disciples.  I still have the standard Slingerland
glossy 8x10 signed To Alan, Best Wishes Buddy Rich.

The first set was phenomenal.  Five feet away from the greatest drummer ever
to play the instrument.  The band had literally just returned from London
where they had recorded "Rich in London" at Ronnie Scott's.  The feeling was
electric, the energy was overwhelming.  Buddy would call a chart number and
immediately start playing the hat like only he could.  With only a few
seconds to pull the chart... suddenly the band was launched as Buddy counted
it off.  One tune after another... the set crafted in Buddy's mind as he
felt himself and the audience.  During the set sticks are broken and
discarded, literally flying all over the place, but as if nothing ever
happened.  The stick bag on the floor tom dwindled down.  Little did anyone
at our table know that I had my eye on one of those discards that ended up
in the shadows behind the bass player.  The first set finished off with West
Side Story.  At 10 years old, I had probably played along with this tune on
Swingin New Big Band a thousand times.  The solo was... well, words will
never really be able to describe a Buddy Rich solo.  Masterful, incredible,
way gone, alien, fast... you pick.  The set was over, Buddy introduced the
band and talked about the recording they had just done in London and then
headed off for break.  

I flew past the roadie who was coming out to claim the towel, stick bag and
splash cymbal on my way to claim my forgotten broken stick.  I created quite
a stir with everyone else at my table.  They had no idea where I was going
or what I was doing.  My return with the treasure made up for my youthful
disobedience.  An official Slingerland, Buddy Rich model stick.  Completely
intact with a small crack that starts just below the tip and runs down the
neck about 2 inches.  I carried that stick in my stick bag my entire playing
career... everywhere I went.  From high school stage band rehearsal to jazz
festival competition to gig after gig as a union sideman.  It now rests in a
special cradle on its own shelf in my office at home.  I held it and rubbed
it up and down every time I sat down to play... hoping for some of the magic
to transfer itself to my hands.  One of my most prized possessions and one
of my fondest memories of any time in my life.

Story sent by Denny Hair

I started playing drums when I was in seventh grade. As a kid, I had no idea who had been the driving influence behind drums and drumming, and only had the popular music on the radio to listen to and imitate. Like most kids, I dreamed of playing professionally and making it big. It became only natural to check out other drummers.  After I looked at the many different drummers in various local bands and listen to every rock drummer I could find on the radio and record album, I happened to see a Gene Krupa album at the store. I bought and listened it an was truly inspired. I didn't think drums could sound like that. One night, the Gene Krupa Story came on the late late show and I stayed up on a school night to watch it. There was a real master. Krupa himself played the sound track and Sal Minio captured the style of Gene in a performance that was a bit hokey by today's standards but still inspiring in its musical content. The more I looked into that "Scary Krupa Drumming" the more another name kept popping up. Who was this Buddy Rich guy? In the late sixties I caught him one night on the Tonight Show.

I was awe inspired. I bought as many Buddy Rich albums as I could find. This seemed quite odd to my musician friends and nobody at school seemed to know who he was. They were buying rock albums and I was buying anything with Buddy playing. By the middle of my high school years, almost all the band students knew who Buddy Rich was. They watch the tonight show with regularity. Buddy's frequent appearance and the tonight show band, offered a style of music that was new to us and fading from the scene almost as fast as we were discovering it. Buddy Rich had one of the only big bands using musicians near our age. We knew that at least a couple members from the one o'clock stage band at the University of Texas had played with him. There was all kinds of enthusiasm for starting up a big band in high school. I remember playing an arrangement of Mercy Mercy with eighteen of us at the high school talent show. Buddy Rich had an underground following of what would have normally been rock fans, listening and buying his Big Band Jazz albums. Because of his influence, we bought other Jazz albums and learned who some of the truly Jazz greats were. We would not have otherwise been interested. One man influenced a generation younger than him in a way he may not have even been aware of.   

I first heard him live at the La Bastille Club in downtown Houston. I think this was 1973 or so. I had a friend who knew the manager so we got there real early. The club was closed but the band was there and we asked if we could come in early. Since my friend knew the manager he told us to sit at the bar like we belonged there and we could watch the band rehearse. I now understand that this was a rare occasion as I am told they played so much they did not rehearse much. I watch as Buddy came in, sat down behind the drums and called out three numbers. There was a sound check, several musicians tuned up and Buddy adjusted his set. It needed very little adjustment. He rolled up his pants to almost his knee and scooted his thrown up a bit. Who ever set his drums up for him must have done it exactly right. We listen as Buddy rehearse the band. He did Norwegian Wood, part of Channel One suite and another I can not recall the name of, all these years later.  

I was amazed at his playing. He played for about 30 minutes. He came up to the bar and asked for a pitcher of water to be placed next to his set and said he would be back later. I spoke up as he was almost a foot from me. I asked him if he was going to play Channel One Suite that evening as it was a favorite of mine. He said he didn't get too many request for it but said he's be glad to. I told him that I was a local drummer and taught drums at a local studio. I explained to him that I had told all my students about him and they too were buying his albums.

You must remember that this is 1973 or so and folks my age and younger didn't listen to Buddy Rich's band on the radio. You had to know who he was and purposely go out and buy his album. Buddy was very cordial. He played two shows that evening and about mid way through the first show Buddy stopped and talked with the audience. He saw me and my friend sitting at a table and smiled. He announced that a young drumming friend sitting at the table by the pole had asked if he would play the next song. He then said, "this ones goes out to Denny and thanks for the support."

I will never forget that night! Wow! was the only words I could think of then and they still fit almost 28 years later. Wow!  I think he put a little extra in the solo that night as it seemed twice as long as the album. The crowd gave him a standing ovation and I was one of the first to my feet.

Over the years, I went and saw him five different times in Houston. Once he accompanied Petula Clark on stage downtown. I don't think he did that much so I was treated to a very rare concert.

I saw him live the last time in Houston in early 1980 or 81. He was playing in an off the wall club on Washington Street that I can not even remember the name of. The place normally had local musicians but for some reason had booked Buddy's big band in it. I bought tickets and asked for a place where I could be a close to the drums as was physically possible. I was in a raised setting area behind the band and directly behind Buddy and could look over his shoulder as he played. What a technician he was. He broke a couple of sticks that night. Since I was so close, getting them from the floor was no problem.  

That night, during the break, I went back stage and got to talk with him for a couple of minutes. He had changed into a robe as he was dripping wet with sweat. I felt a little embarrassed to bother him during the break but he was very cordial. He autographed the sticks and I recalled him playing Channel One Suite for me at the La Bastille Club some eight or nine years before. He didn't recall, I don't think, but said he was glad I came back to see him. After the break he played Channel One Suite. I know he did so because I had mentioned it to him on the break. During the solo I started shouting, "Go Buddy Go" the rest of the crowd took it up and did he ever play. That was the last time I saw him live. So close I could have touched him. I must tell you, he touch my life. Sometimes we cherish the memories we have when we cross paths with greatness. I don't know what Buddy Rich was like in his personal life. I can tell you he was a marvelous showman and I always found him both sincere and friendly when I was able to talk with him the two brief times our lives crossed paths.

Recently I bought several Video tapes with Buddy playing on them. All of the memories came flooding back and I thought I would add this recollection to your story collection. I don't think I'll ever forget such a master of the drums. 

Its hard to believe he is gone. His playing and recordings will be long remembered.

Denny Hair

Houston, Texas 

Story sent by Jay Webler

My introduction to Buddy Rich, as a drummer, was when I was about 13 years old. I was looking through a record collection of a dairy farmer friend of mine, and came across the Buddy Rich Vs. Max Roach record. My friend said I could have the album. I had absolutely no Idea who Buddy Rick or Max Roach where. I was absolutely floored at what I heard. I listened to that album everyday, and I would try everyday to learn from that album using my Arrows cut in two for drum sticks, on my garbage can with paper clips for a snare drum. My mother wouldn't let me have a drum set at that time, because see wanted me to continue with the Clarinet. I still consider the solos by Buddy and Max on "Yesterdays" to be the best solos ever played. The setting up of tension and release against the nanigo rhythm should studied by every drummer who wants to play Jazz.

A couple of years later I saw Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa on the Sammy Davis jr. show. I remember the incident very well because I had made the mistake of saying that I thought Buddy Rich had smoked Gene Krupa, which upset my mother greatly. She went on a long diatribe about respecting the accomplishments of an individual like Gene Krupa and reminded me that I had no business showing disrespect like this to man of Gene Krupa's stature. A lesson we could all stand to learn.

I had the opportunity to see Buddy live 3 times. The last two were the most memorable. In 1973 I saw him in Rome, GA. Apparently he had fired the bass player the night before, and had acquired a player from the Atlanta area for this concert. It was obvious that the bass player was lost and didn't have a clue. Despite that the band was great. When they were about to take a break Buddy came to the front and the crowd was giving a long list of requests. Buddy said, "we're not going to play Channel 1 or West Side Story or any of that #%&*. We're going to take 15 minutes and figure out why." About 5 minutes into the intermission we saw the Bass amp being rolled off the stage. Apparently, the bass player was sent packing. The guitar player took over on bass and did a superb job. The band and Buddy sounding even better.

The last time I saw Buddy live was in Virginia Beach in 1979. I stood 5 feet from him but did not have the nerve to introduce myself. (At that time I was in the Air Force Band at Langley AFB, VA and was in charge of the 17 piece Jazz Band. Of course, we did a number of Buddy Rich Charts.) I wish I had spoken to him because of the enormous influence he had in my playing. During one of his solos the light man had put a green filter on the spot light, while Buddy was playing a soft roll. You could hear Buddy say, "green,.... greEN.... GREEN". (He, apparently, was not please with the color choice). Upon hearing this, the light man promptly changed the filter with lightning speed.

Buddy was one of the few drummers that actually inspired me to play better. He is definitely missed.

Jay Webler

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