Originally Posted by mattsmith
First of all, Mike James' website is great and what he said about how Buddy Rich invented this whole direction wer'e talkin' about now is dead on. And in jazz, invention is always the bigger deal than perfecting the invention. This is important to understand 'cause there are some good guys on this forum who think that Buddy Rich is like some relic of the past, who like Gene Krupa created the idea of speed with musicianship, but could never compete with the mutant superheros who have come from that style in today's time like Vinnie C or Virgil Donati, or Weckl.
There was even a guy on the Donati site who said that Virgil would grind Rich into dust. My dad looked at that and said "Any idiot can write on the Internet." To me, Buddy Rich is definately more important because he was the real creator, and the only reason guys like that exist in the first place. And I say this without even thinking about the technique or the obvious greatness of guys like Vinnie C and to some extent Donati.
Now when it comes to this speed issue. I have read about Tiger Bill sayin' this and I know Art Verdi believes this too. And when it comes to raw speed like just goin full out with rudiments, they know what they are talkin' about 'cause they are 2 of the fastest drummers to ever walk the Earth. But those tricks they talk about Rich doing are to me part of the creation that made Rich the great innovative drummer he will always be.
About where you say Tiger Bill feels Rich really wasn't that fast, what I believe he is really sayin' is that in his opinion Rich is not the fastest to ever live, and that's a different thing altogether. Remember when you are talkin' about speed opinions that come from top 10 WFD guys, your talkin' about absolutes.
But I don't think speed is what made Rich the great player anyway. A long time ago I was told to listen to super early Rich to get the true meaning of how great he was. Like listen to the Artie Shaw band when he played with it in the late 1930s. Then listen to it the year before he joined. The Rich groove made that band a thousand times better and the players are all better 'cause he's there. it was really the first time anybody had ever heard real independence combined with a tight and crisp high-hat. In other words, the start of modern drumming.
On the flip side listen to that Tommy Dorsey guy's band when Rich left. It was never the same. And nobody played fast on that band. His speed was only a piece of the puzzle.
It's funny, Rich has never been my very favorite. I am more into Elvin Jones and Tony Williams. But I always feel like Rich needs to be defended because of some of the opinions that are out there, like how bein' a nasty guy applies to his playing, or how some guy doesn't like the sound of his snare on a West Side Story video. To me the bigger question is why people judge stuff based on these things.
I think that (I'm saying that before my posts are deleted, for unknown/cryptic reasons...) you should also remember that Buddy Rich was the greatest drummer who ever lived for Mr. Verdi. He was "the Babe Ruth of the drums", as his own words named/crowned him. And his speed was also AMAZING. Even to this day of 2006. What this guy did in 1970 is still mindblowing today. 36 years after. He was definitely damn fast for his time, and damn fast for today's standard too. From what I can remember, BR already reached 'round 1.100 single strokes per minute back in the 70's. And that's SICK! Of course. I agree that his abilities were faaar, faaaar more present in his musicality, rhythm notions than on speed alone. What made BR's solos so amazing and unbelievable were the intelligent aplications he gave to them (to those tecniques and speed). The spontaneous beat-combinations and incredible, also spontaneous, musicality and genius-like showmanship were the responsible for the general awesomeness back then (and "the kids" are still amazed in 2006 too. Just check you.tube for some opinions on the subject...).
p.s. This added info is better suited for non BR fans than the otherwise. It was not really entirely directed at you. Sorry for anything...
All the best.