I Think A Lot Of People Misjudge Buddy Rich

Michael McDanial

Senior Member
I hear a lot of accusations that Buddy Rich was "all flash" and I don't agree with that at all. I think the problem is too many people only know Buddy Rich for his drum solos. A lot people don't take into consideration that Buddy could drive a big band like mad, as well as having great brushwork. There's so much more to him than just the drum solos.
 

Mikecore

Silver Member
It's funny, I actually like his playing with the music better than his drum solos. "Waltz of the Mushroom Hunters" with Maynard Ferguson or "Ya Gotta Try" comes to mind. That's when I started hearing all of the nice little details that he slid into a song without getting in the way, and that's a much harder trick than a solo. I think maybe with time and maturity it becomes less about a bitchen' solo and more about being part of a great thing.

I think the bigger disservice to today's drummers is to get all caught up in "Buddy this, Buddy that" to the point that we miss all of the superb talent in our own time. Watch Tommy Igoe playing on the Buddy Rich 2008 Memorial DVD. "La Fiesta" in particular.
 

brady

Platinum Member
I hear a lot of accusations that Buddy Rich was "all flash" and I don't agree with that at all. I think the problem is too many people only know Buddy Rich for his drum solos. A lot people don't take into consideration that Buddy could drive a big band like mad, as well as having great brushwork. There's so much more to him than just the drum solos.
Check him out playing with Oscar Peterson; one of my favorites. No long Buddy solos but he is cooking.

http://www.amazon.com/Plays-Count-Basie-Reis-Rstr/dp/B0013FDTY0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291346524&sr=8-1
 

aydee

Platinum Member
...

People do and its easy to see why.

Buddy, along with a handful of other drummers ( Gene Krupa, Phil Collins..) was one of the few that transcended the music world and became part a much larger consciousness. Everybody knew who he was, not just the listeners of music.

This was mainly because he was a very frequent presence on the Johnny Carson show on which he displayed not just a fun sense of humor but breathtaking drum solos, which captured the collective imagination of the country.

Chances are that if you were to walk up to a completely non musical person and ask them to name a drummer, they would be likely to say, Buddy Rich.

Now the the people who were really interested in his music would also know a lot more about his Tommy Dorsey stints, and his comp work with Sinatra, Ella, Oscar Petersen etc etc, which were exercises in tasteful subtlety and nothing like his big band work.

I guess what Im trying to say is he was somewhat of a 'rock star'. And rock stars have larger-than-life public personas, and are easily misunderstood.

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Michael McDanial

Senior Member
Check him out playing with Oscar Peterson; one of my favorites. No long Buddy solos but he is cooking.

http://www.amazon.com/Plays-Count-Basie-Reis-Rstr/dp/B0013FDTY0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1291346524&sr=8-1
Yes! I own that album and it is definitely a great one! This is another good one:

http://www.amazon.com/Lester-Young-Trio/dp/B0000046T5/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1291347910&sr=1-1

Great accompaniment and wonderful brushwork. Of course, there are countless other albums that the same could be said of as well. Buddy was on a LOT of recordings under another musicians leadership, but that's just standard in jazz for any great rhythm section player.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I hear a lot of accusations that Buddy Rich was "all flash" and I don't agree with that at all. I think the problem is too many people only know Buddy Rich for his drum solos. A lot people don't take into consideration that Buddy could drive a big band like mad, as well as having great brushwork. There's so much more to him than just the drum solos.
Apparently the idiots making these accusations haven't really checked him out. I would think you'd do a little research before making blanket statements. Like I just did pertaining to said idiots....

It's too bad there's now an entire generation who only have recordings and dvd's to see the man play. I made it a point to see him play whenever he came out to Disneyland or do a concert at a local college here in Southern California.
 

Skitch

Pioneer Member
I hear a lot of accusations that Buddy Rich was "all flash" and I don't agree with that at all. I think the problem is too many people only know Buddy Rich for his drum solos. A lot people don't take into consideration that Buddy could drive a big band like mad, as well as having great brushwork. There's so much more to him than just the drum solos.
Buddy's phrasing during a song was mind-blowing; it could be the most obvious, simple "why didn't I think of that" type of stuff!

Mike

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Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I don't know of anyone who says Buddy was all flash. I don't count YouTubers as "anyone" because there's no CQ.
 

ricc333

Senior Member
Buddy was a cat that had to work his ass off as a kid. I think that played a lot into the man. He could play amazing stuff because that's what wowed audiences, but that was just part of playing for him. He was an entertainer. He became a musician after his vaudeville, as a kid. But his work ethic was expansive. That's why he berated players in his band that weren't prepared. Driving a band was an afterthought. He expected it to be the same for his players, but they didn't come from the same background as him.

Imagine that for a second. You're a kid and you have to play 4-5 shows a day. Yeah, he could drive a band like a pimp cause he got when he was like 5 that people expect a SHOW. Not just a kid doing stick tricks. They expect the whole thing. Even interviews with Buddy late in his life ended up being about that....the whole deal.
 

Alex H

Member
There's a great record of him with Art Tatum and Lionel Hampton (stellar lineup anyone?) called Tatum Group Masterpieces, Vol.3. I think there are 8 different collections in total, but two of them have this lineup. It's pretty cool because it's basically Art Tatum playing with whatever incredibly good musicians he wants. I hadn't ever heard him before, but good God that man could play the piano. Anyway, point being, Buddy doesn't do any of his normal sorts of tricks here but still sounds great. There's a fair amount of brushwork and light almost bopish playing (Buddy Rich just turned over in his grave). I'd recommend it for anyone interested.
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
The whole thing from what I can gather is just a recent phenomenon pushed along by youtube trolls and the attitude fixated who think you're not supposed to like the music of anyone who won't sign your cymbal at a clinic or smile 24/7 for no apparent reason. More distressingly a segment of talented jazz drummers my age up to about 40, who have adopted another direction, apparently have felt compelled to reinvent history. I believe some of their reasoning is more along the lines of being upset that not enough people have listened to their thing, so why give lip service to dead legends? Then there's the best label that drives a lot of this same group absolutely nuts.

A couple of years ago I heard a very talented drummer make some crack about how Rich was something you outgrew when you left high school. What a stupid comment, I thought. But then he was exactly the demographic I'm discussing.

Then there's the live factor issue. I'll always be a Rich supporter because I put in a lot of time doing the listening, and because I've had access to many Rich recordings that have never been released. Plus when you see these older guys look all glassy eyed when discussing those live concerts you have to wonder if that famous Rich intensity /which I think was his biggest card/ really transfers when it isn't live? Most of us never heard Rich because he was already dead when we were born while very few guys my age do all that much listening. In fact most times I hear a Rich detractor he can't name an entire an album he's ever heard, while insisting those 10 played to death videos tells the whole story.

I think Rich will be one of those guys people will be discussing 1000 years from now while ridiculing this peculiar pre regulated Internet era where many truths about he music business were rewritten for reasons other than music.
 

brady

Platinum Member
Yes! I own that album and it is definitely a great one! This is another good one:

http://www.amazon.com/Lester-Young-Trio/dp/B0000046T5/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1291347910&sr=1-1

Great accompaniment and wonderful brushwork. Of course, there are countless other albums that the same could be said of as well. Buddy was on a LOT of recordings under another musicians leadership, but that's just standard in jazz for any great rhythm section player.
Cool! Man, I have never seen that record before. Lester Young with Buddy Rich and Nat King Cole? I'm going to have to check out that one. Thanks.
 
I think the bigger disservice to today's drummers is to get all caught up in "Buddy this, Buddy that" to the point that we miss all of the superb talent in our own time. Watch Tommy Igoe playing on the Buddy Rich 2008 Memorial DVD. "La Fiesta" in particular.

Hear, hear! Well said and I agree. Adoring an icon is one thing, but to make it a fetish at the expense of others is quite another.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Hear, hear! Well said and I agree. Adoring an icon is one thing, but to make it a fetish at the expense of others is quite another.
Agreed. It's unhealthy to emulate or idolize one drummer above all others. Having said that, Buddy has been and always will be one of my drumming role models.

People who only have his Tonight Show appearances to base their statements on, need to dig deeper and find some recordings where he was simply a hired session player. The man had taste, class, and an uncanny instinct for what the song needed. One of my treasured possessions when I was in high school starting out was a Lionel Hampton album where he was mostly on the vibes and Buddy was on the drums. There was no mistaking it for anyone else, but then it wasn't anywhere close to over the top. It was what Lionel told him to play.
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
I have to agree with what's been said here. I'm a Buddy Rich fan, but I don't worship the guy. He had his faults like everyone else. BUT, I doubt there will be anyone quite like him to come along for a very, very long time.

Pick up his biography written by Mel Torme' and you get a sense that here was a guy who began drumming when he was 18 months old in vaudville, where his parents worked, and who successfully transcended childhood, his teenage years, and on into adulthood doing something he absolutely loved - which was drumming. Along the way he took his lumps like everyone else but hung in there and came out on top - warts and all.

In fact, he specifically told Mel Torme' to write about his faults, so everyone would get the "true" Buddy Rich. Uncleansed and not sugar-coated.

Sure he was a showman, but always the music came first and he demanded the best from himself and later the players in his band.

And it's that dedication to music that we have the extensive collection of fine jazz and swing we have today.
 

Highway Child

Senior Member
I saw Buddy with his big band twice, in Sheffield and London. (NB Steve Marcus was in the band each time, another great player). Of course his drum solos were amazing but it was the way he propelled that band, his comping that I admired the most. I count myself very lucky to have seen Buddy live, these are aspects of his playing that internet video clips cannot convey.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I've never ever heard anyone accuse Buddy of being all flash.

I've heard he can go over people's heads, and such, but never all flash.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
There is nothing that anyone could say that could ever minimize that man's drumming in my book. He was, and still is, light years ahead of the rest of the drumming world.
If there was ever a Mt Rushmore of drummers, his face would certainly have to be included.
 
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