Louie Bellson
July 6, 1924 - February 14, 2009
Page I
Matt Abts
Alex Acuna
Daniel Adair
Chris Adler
Morgan Agren
Airto
Tommy Aldridge
Rashied Ali
Don Alias
Carl Allen
Cliff Almond
Barry Altschul
Robby Ameen
Scott Amendola
Animal
Charly Antolini
Carmine Appice
Vinny Appice
Kenny Aronoff
Billy Ashbaugh
Mick Avory
Marcel Bach
Colin Bailey
Donald Bailey
Ginger Baker
Jeff Ballard
Alex Bally
Joe La Barbera
Travis Barker
Joey Baron
Ranjit Barot
Julio Barreto
Ray Barretto
Ray Bauduc
Eddie Bayers
Marcus Baylor
Frank Beard
Carter Beauford
Poogie Bell
Louie Bellson
Brian Bennett
Hank Bennink
Joe Bergamini
Tal Bergman
Jon Bermuda Schwartz
Ignacio Berroa
Pete Ray Biggin
Curt Bisquera
Gregg Bissonette
Jason Bittner
Roger Biwandu
Dave Black
Cindy Blackman
John Blackwell
Brian Blade
Hal Blaine
Art Blakey
Jason Bonham
John Bonham
Gergo Borlai
Paul Bostaph
Terry Bozzio
Dirk Brand
Jimmy Branly
Tom Brechtlein
Don Brewer
Gerry Brown
Bill Bruford
Ronald Bruner Jr.
Jack Bruno
Mark Brzezicki
Roy Burns
William Calhoun
Clayton Cameron
Matt Cameron
Gorden Campbell
Teddy Campbell
Tommy Campbell
Emmanuelle Caplette
Danny Carey
Keith Carlock
Bun E. Carlos
Karen Carpenter
Terri Lyne Carrington
Joey Castillo
Deen Castronovo
Big Sid Catlett
André Ceccarelli
Dave DiCenso
Gary Chaffee
Jimmy Chamberlin
Dennis Chambers
Ndugu Chancler
Jim Chapin
Gary Chester
Jon Christensen
Kenny Clare
Greg Clark
Mike Clark
Kenny Clarke
Tommy Clufetos
Jimmy Cobb
Bill Cobham
Vinnie Colaiuta
Cozy Cole
Chris Coleman
Cora Coleman-Dunham
Tony Coleman
Phil Collins
Aaron Comess
Luis Conte
Tre Cool
Ray Cooper
Stewart Copeland
Kirk Covington
Adam Cruz
Abe Cunningham
Andrew Cyrille
Nick D'Virgilio
Paulinho Da Costa
Brann Dailor
Zach Danziger
Flo Dauner
Chris "Daddy" Dave
Mike Davila
Alan Dawson
Barrett Deems
Jimmy DeGrasso
Adam Deitch
Jack DeJohnette
Kenwood Dennard
John Densmore
Liberty DeVitto
Dave DiCenso
Marko Djordjevic
Warren "Baby" Dodds
John Dolmayan
Peter Donald
Virgil Donati
Brian Downey
Hamid Drake
Martin Drew
The Drumbassadors
Billy Drummond
Aynsley Dunbar
Sheila E.
Phil Ehart
Dave Elitch
Paul Elliott
Sonny Emory
Peter Erskine
Dom Famularo
Pierre Favre
Steve Ferrone
Anton Fig
Vera Figueiredo
Sammy Figueroa
Larry Finn
Eric Fischer
Mick Fleetwood
D.J. Fontana
Hannah Ford
Al Foster
Panama Francis
Brian Frasier-Moore
Josh Freese
Kiko Freitas
Steve Gadd
James Gadson
Richie Gajate-Garcia
David Garibaldi
Mel Gaynor
Andy Gillmann
Daniel Glass
Evelyn Glennie
Jim Gordon
Danny Gottlieb
Jimmy DeGrasso
Rick Gratton
Eric Kamau Gravatt
Benny Greb
Sonny Greer
Rayford Griffin
Dave Grohl
Freddie Gruber
Donny Gruendler
Mark Guiliana
Terreon Gully
Trilok Gurtu
Ralf Gustke
Tomas Haake
Wolfgang Haffner
Omar Hakim
Matt Halpern
Chico Hamilton
Jeff Hamilton
Lionel Hampton
Jake Hanna
Eric Harland
Buddy Harman
Gavin Harrison
Mickey Hart
Billy Hart
Steve Hass
Fritz Hauser
Roger Hawkins
Taylor Hawkins
Louis Hayes
Roy Haynes
Richie Hayward
Albert Tootie Heath
Hernan Hecht
Levon Helm
Don Henley
Joey Heredia
Horacio Hernandez
Raymond Herrera
Claus Hessler
Gerald Heyward
Giovanni Hidalgo
Billy Higgins
Jon Hiseman
Ari Hoenig
Gene Hoglan
Rodney Holmes
Steve Houghton
Daniel Humair
Gary Husband
Zakir Hussain
Greg Hutchinson
Susie Ibarra
Tommy Igoe
Tris Imboden
Al Jackson
Bobby Jarzombek
Akira Jimbo
Jack DeJohnette
Mike Johnston
Elvin Jones
Harold Jones
Hilary Jones
Papa Jo Jones
Philly Joe Jones
Randy Jones
Rufus "Speedy" Jones
Steve Jordan
Joey Jordison
Jonathan Joseph
Manu Katché
Senri Kawaguchi
Jim Keltner
Will Kennedy
Billy Kilson
George Kollias
Glenn Kotche
Joey Kramer
Bill Kreutzmann
Gene Krupa
Russ Kunkel
Joe La Barbera
Abe Laboriel, jr.
Gene Lake
Don Lamond
Thomas Lang
Dave Langguth
Shannon Larkin
Pete LaRoca Sims
Karl Latham
Rick Latham
Trevor Lawrence Jr.
Ricky Lawson
Chris Layton
Tommy Lee
Felix M. Lehrmann
Paul Leim
Stan Levey
Mel Lewis
Victor Lewis
Pete Lockett
Dave Lombardo
Larrie Londin
Hakim Ludin
Ray Luzier
Mike Mangini
Shelly Manne
Brian "Brain" Mantia
Sherrie Maricle
Rick Marotta
John Marshall
Billy Martin
Pedrito Martinez
Harvey Mason
Nick Mason
Dave Mattacks
Phil Maturano
JoJo Mayer
Nicko McBrain
Joe McCarthy
George "Spanky" McCurdy
Jason McGerr
Marvin McQuitty
Buddy Miles
Butch Miles
Russ Miller
Marco Minnemann
Mitch Mitchell
Joseph Ziggy Modeliste
Jonathan Moffett
Drori Mondlak
Keith Moon
Eric Moore
Stanton Moore
Steve Moore
Airto Moreira
Joe Morello
Rod Morgenstein
Joe Morris
Nate Morton
Paul Motian
Famadou Don Moye
Alphonse Mouzon
Jonathan Mover
Moritz Mueller
Idris Muhammad
Larry Mullen Jr.
Narada
Lewis Nash
Sandy Nelson
Andy Newmark
Jost Nickel
Anika Nilles
Gary Novak
Adam Nussbaum
Volkan Oektem
Jamie Oldaker
Nigel Olsson
John Otto
Ian Paice
Carl Palmer
Earl Palmer
Francis Panama
Toss Panos
Chris Parker
Leon Parker
Vinnie Paul
Jim Payne
Sonny Payne
Neil Peart
Shawn Pelton
Clarence Penn
Chris Pennie
Karl Perazzo
Stephen Perkins
Charli Persip
Ralph Peterson
Pat Petrillo
Simon Phillips
Felix Pollard
Joe Porcaro
Jeff Porcaro
Mike Portnoy
Cozy Powell
Bobby Previte
Thomas Pridgen
Aquiles Priester
Dafnis Prieto
Tito Puente
Bernard Purdie
Alvin Queen
Jeff Queen
Questlove
Johnny Rabb
Tobias Ralph
Raul Rekow
Walfredo Reyes
Walfredo Reyes, Jr.
Buddy Rich
Dannie Richmond
Sean Rickman
Alex Riel
Kariem Riggins
Ben Riley
Herlin Riley
Jim Riley
John Riley
Ringo
Chip Ritter
Max Roach
John "J.R." Robinson
Pete LaRoca Sims
Derek Roddy
Mickey Roker
Bobby Rondinelli
Joel Rosenblatt
Tony Royster Jr.
Ilan Rubin
Phil Rudd
Daniel Sadownick
Bobby Sanabria
Antonio Sanchez
Poncho Sanchez
Mongo Santamaria
Cindy Blackman Santana
Mark Schulman
Jon Bermuda Schwartz
Denny Seiwell
Danny Seraphine
Paco Séry
Chad Sexton
Gil Sharone
Ed Shaughnessy
Michael Shrieve
Pete LaRoca Sims
Eric Singer
Zutty Singleton
Chad Smith
Marvin "Smitty" Smith
Nate Smith
Steve Smith
Ash Soan
Ed Soph
Matt Sorum
Aaron Spears
David Stanoch
Zak Starkey
John "Jabo" Starks
Ringo Starr
Bill Stewart
Nisan Stewart
Clyde Stubblefield
Fredy Studer
Todd Sucherman
James "The Rev" Sullivan
Grady Tate
Art Taylor
Mel Taylor
Roger Taylor
John Tempesta
Aaron Thier
Ed Thigpen
Ahmir Questlove Thompson
Chester Thompson
Top Secret Drum Corps
Pat Torpey
Tico Torres
Dave Tough
Nat Townsley
Ron Tutt
Lars Ulrich
Vadrum
Andrea Vadrucci

Christian Vander
Alex Van Halen
Ronnie Vannucci
Nana Vasconcelos
Carlos Vega
Glen Velez
Ronnie Verrell
Johnny Vidacovich
Nick D'Virgilio
Chad Wackerman
Nasheet Waits
Narada Michael Walden
Bill Ward
Billy Ward
Kenny Washington
Derico Watson
Charlie Watts
Jeff "Tain" Watts
Chick Webb
Dave Weckl
Max Weinberg
Klaus Weiss
Paul Wertico
George Wettling
Alan White
Lenny White
Steve White
Pete Wilhoit
Brad Wilk
Tony Williams
Matt Wilson
Shadow Wilson
Sam Woodyard
Pete York
Pete Zeldman
Zoro



© Mark McCaleb








Louie Bellson...
Duke Ellington called him "the world's greatest drummer," and that he was...member of the "BIG THREE":
Louie Bellson - Gene Krupa - Buddy Rich.

He was a composer, arranger, bandleader, tireless jazz educator, pioneered the use of two bass drums, and in terms of the speed of his hands and feet and the wonderful, percussive "ideas" he conveys on the drums, stands next to only Buddy Rich as the total technician.

Referred to by Leonard Feather as "one of the most phenomenal drummers in history," Louie Bellson has expressed himself on the drums since he was three years old. At 15, he pioneered the double-bass-drum set-up. His detailed sketch earned him an 'A' in his high school art class. At 17, he triumphed over 40,000 drummers to win the Slingerland National Gene Krupa contest.

As an internationally-acclaimed artist, he has performed in most of the major capitals around the world. With the exception of Bob Hope, who has made the most White House appearances, Bellson holds, along with his late wife Pearl Bailey, the second highest number of White House appearances.

He has performed and/or recorded scores of albums (approximately 200) as a leader, co-leader or sideman with such greats as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Woody Herman, Norman Granz' J.A.T.P., Benny Carter, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, Hank Jones, Zoot Sims, Sonny Stitt, Milt Jackson, Clark Terry, Louie Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Shelly Manne, Billy Cobham, James Brown, Sammy Davis, Jr., Tony Bennett, Pearl Bailey, Mel Torme, Joe Williams and Wayne Newton.

Over the years, Louie has taken several bandleader's holidays to play under the direction of other leaders or to lead someone else's band. During the '60s, he rejoined Ellington for his Emancipation Proclamation Centennial stage production, "My People", the motion picture soundtrack of "Assault on a Queen," and for what Ellington called "the most important thing I have ever done"—his Concerts of Sacred Music. In 1966, Louie toured briefly with both Basie and ex-boss Harry James. A few years later, Buddy Rich paid Louie the supreme drummer-to-drummer/bandleader compliment. Rich asked Bellson to lead his (Buddy's) band on tour while he was temporarily disabled by a back injury. Louie proudly accepted.

In 1942, he performed with the Benny Goodman band and Peggy Lee in "The Power Girl", the first of his many film appearances. Louie was 24 and a veteran of a U. S. Army band when he joined Danny Kaye, Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Barnett, Benny Carter, Mel Powell, Kenny Dorharn, Harry Babasin, Al Hendrickson, Buck Washington, and Goodman for Howard Hawks' "A Song Is Born," still a recurring treat on TV's late, late shows.

As a prolific creator of music, both written and improvised, his compositions and arrangements (in the hundreds) embrace jazz, jazz/rock/fusion, romantic orchestral suites, symphonic works and a ballet. Little known to many of his listeners, the versatile Mr. Bellson is also a poet and a lyricist.

As an author, he has published more than a dozen books on drums and percussion. He is currently at work with his biographer on a book chronicling his remarkable career and bearing the same name as one of his compositions—"Skin Deep".

Bellson's numerous accolades are legion. He has been voted into the Halls of Fame for both Modern Drummer magazine and the Percussive Arts Society. Yale University named him a Duke Ellington Fellow in 1977. He received an honorary Doctorate from Northern Illinois University in 1985. He performed his original concert, Tomus I, II, III with the Washington Civic Symphony in historic Constitution Hall in 1993. He received the prestigious American Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1994. Additionally, Louie Bellson is a four-time Grammy Award nominee.

In addition, The London Suite (recorded in his album, Louie in London) was performed at the Hollywood Pilgrimage Bowl before a record-breaking audience. The three-part work includes a choral section in which a 12-voice choir sings exquisitely sensitive lyrics by Bellson. Part One is the band's rousing Carnaby Street, a collaboration with Jack Hayes.

Bellson has led his own orchestra almost steadily for more than forty years. In his present Big Band Explosion, there is zest, humor, fervor and exultation. Everybody is having a good time, as well they should, inspired by their drummer-leader. One of his former employers understands. The distinguished Duke Ellington said, "Louie Bellson has all the requirements for perfection in his craft. He is the world's greatest drummer."

Bellson received his Doctor of Humane Letters in 1985 at Northern Illinois University. In 1987, at the Percussive Arts Society convention in Washington, D. C., Bellson and Harold Farberman performed a major orchestral work titled, Concerto for Jazz Drummer and Full Orchestra, the first piece ever written specifically for jazz drummer and full symphony orchestra. This work was recorded by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in England, and was released by the Swedish label, B. I. S.

Bellson has been voted into the Halls of Fame for both Modern Drummer magazine and the Percussive Arts Society. In June1993, he performed Tomus I, II, III with the Washington CivicSymphony in historic Constitution Hall. A combination of fullsymphony orchestra, big-band ensemble and 80-voice choir,Tomus had been a collaboration of music by Bellson and lyricsby his late wife, Pearl Bailey.

In January 1994, Bellson received the prestigious American Jazz Masters Award from the national Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. As one of three recipients, Bellson was lauded by NEA chair Jane Alexander who said, "These colossal talents have helped write the history of jazz in America."

Louie passed away in peace on Feb 14, 2009.






LOUIE BELLSON:
Much of the superb small group and big band work Bellson did as a leader and as a sideman in the 1950s for Verve records is out-of-print (though some have come out on Japanese limited editions from time to time), with the exception of the legendary get-together with Benny Carter and Art Tatum from 1955, available on "Art Tatum Group Masterpieces Volume One" (Pablo label). The sensitive side of Bellson is also in evidence on one volume of another legendary pairing, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald (Verve label). His significant work with Duke Ellington, including Bellson's own composition "Skin Deep," can be obtained on "Duke Ellington Uptown" from 1952 (Columbia label). "Duke's Big Four" (1972: Pablo label) features the drummer in a rare small group setting with Duke.

For the last three decades, Bellson has been recording with his own big band, frequently and consistently for labels like Concord, Telarc and MusicMasters. Among the best are Bellson's 1992 re-creation of Ellington's "Black, Brown and Beige" suite (MusicMasters label), a tribute to the legendary jazz drummers on "Their Time Was The Greatest" (1992: Concord label), "Air Bellson" (1997: Concord label) and his latest to date on Concord, "The Art of the Chart." Among the most sought-after Bellson collector's items, available on vinyl only, is "Are You Ready For This? (1965: Roost label). This rarity received little notice and distribution when it was released, but this 30-plus-minute drum battle between Bellson and Buddy Rich, recorded in Japan with studio time actually paid for by the two drummers, is well worth having.



© Classic Drummer


















performed with:

Ted FioRito
Duke Ellington
Count Basie
Bennie Goodman
Tommy Dorsey
Harry James
Woody Herman
Norman Granz' J.A.T.P.
Bennie Carter
Sarah Vaughan
Ella Fitzgerald
Oscar Peterson
Art Tatum
Dizzy Gillespie
Gerry Mullingan
Stan Getz
Hank Jones
Zoot Sims
Sonny Stitt
Milton Jackson
Clark Terry
Louie Armstrong
Lionel Hampton
Eddie "lockjaw" Davis
Shelly Manne
Billy Cobham
James Brown
Sammy Davis Jr.
Tony Bennett
Mel Torme
Joe Williams
Wayne Newton

...and many more





















































Freddie Gruber - Louie Bellson - Stan Levey




Roy Haynes - Armand Zildjian - Elvin Jones - Louie Bellson - Max Roach









Derico Watson - Louie Bellson - Gorden Campbell



© Francine Bellson












go to Louie Bellson Page II