Personalities | Buddy Rich | Forties | Jazz & Blues

(Drums, 1917–87)

Bernard ‘Buddy’ Rich was a powerhouse drummer with a phenomenal technique, but he was also capable of great delicacy when required. He grew up in the family vaudeville act before joining Joe Marsala’s band in 1937. It was the beginning of a series of associations with major swing era bandleaders such as Harry James, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Carter and – as a deputy for Jo JonesCount Basie.

He formed his own band in 1945 and also recorded with major bebop artists Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Bud Powell. He worked with James again in the 1950s and 1960s, led a small group, and tried unsuccessfully to establish a career as a singer. He formed a new and much more successful big band of his own from the mid-1960s until 1974, then led a small group and ran his own club. A third big band followed, and Rich enjoyed a high profile, through television appearances, until his death.

Styles & Forms | Forties | Jazz & Blues
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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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