How come Buddy Rich isn't known for bebop drumming?

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Buddy Rich is acknowledged as maybe the greatest drummer who ever lived, but he doesn't seem to show up much in bebop and doesn't seem to have made much of a mark there. What's the deal with that? For all his skill, I don't see he played much outside of classical jazz but maybe I'm wrong. There were fewer genres of music back then but I don't see he played much in rock, soul, pop, blues, funk, world or country. All that just kind of pass him by. Nowdays, it seems like the really great drummers stand out in several genres.
 

Michael McDanial

Senior Member
Buddy never really played in a bebop setting. He made a recording with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, but sounded out of place. I think somebody like Max Roach or Kenny Clarke would have fit much better. He did make some good recordings of hard bop songs (like Coltrane's "Moment's Notice" and "Giant Steps" with Lionel Hampton), and does a pretty good job. But for the most part, Buddy very rarely ever played bop.
 
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Steamer

Platinum Member
One of the truly great Big Band drummers of all time. When he hit a home run being at the top of his game in a large ensemble no one could touch him in this setting. For me that's his GREATEST achievement and footprint legacy he left behind in the music.

Here's some footage of Buddy at the top of his game i'll repost that was part of another recent Buddy thread:

Time Being parts 1+2 from the early 70's. Video footage from the famous live Buddy Rich recording "Live at Ronnie Scott's"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ds-m8S-ldOM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ma96Ct3Qds

Countless others at the same time who focused primarily on smaller ensemble Bop drumming offered their own significant contributions to that idiom of jazz drumming over Buddy. Such is life......
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
This could be applied to just about any drummer and a style they are not known for...

How come *insert famous drummer* isn't known for *style other than what they're for.*

Not many people are really known for playing more than one style well.
 

Funky Crêpe

Silver Member
This could be applied to just about any drummer and a style they are not known for...

How come *insert famous drummer* isn't known for *style other than what they're for.*

Not many people are really known for playing more than one style well.
well, apart from cats like gadd weckl jojo and co. but buddy is up there with the best, and quite a few of those did'nt delve into other music
 

Steamer

Platinum Member
So, did Buddy just avoid bebop altogether?
Quite honestly I think he was just way to busy leading countless Big Bands over many decades all over the world not to mention countless large ensemble recording projects to cover any small group situations.

If you dig deep enough you may find some smaller group stuff with him as a sideman, most earlier on in his career, but they are very RARE.
 

The Colonel

Silver Member
He has a few small ensemble recordings. I used to have an album led by Lionel Hampton with 5...maybe 6 guys... used to really like it when I was younger (and before I gave away my stacks of albums with Buddy on them). Not really "bebop" - but a small setting...

If I were to get into some psych-babel B.S. - I would say he didn't touch on it because he wasn't good at it, and wouldn't want to seem like a fish out of water (as he did on that previously mentioned album...not terrible, but it's not very good, IMNSFHO).

He had the most famous big band throughout the 70's/80's - why mess with something he wouldn't appear to be "the best" at?

Buddy seemed like a Grade A @-hole through and through (I've heard the nice stories too - he wasn't evil or anything...just not a nice dude) and I can't imagine someone like him wanting to stick his feet in something that appeared to be a weakness. He came up during the big band era - that's what he knew. Same with Louie Armstrong. I honestly think Louie stayed away from bebop because he didn't fully understand it. Why try and look bad at something when you can be the best at what you were doing? (I present Exhibit A: Michael Jordan's baseball career)

And even then, I'm just talking about the "general consensus" of "the best" - I'd much rather have any of Count Basie's or Duke Ellington's drummers leading my big band, but maybe that's just me...Either Sonny - Payne or Greer - before Buddy, for me.

Gotta say though - some of those small ensemble 70's recordings of Buddy's were pretty cool - the funky stuff. Steve Marcus really had some nice moments.

ANyway - I'm babbling...
 

ace76543

Senior Member
Buddy Rich is acknowledged as maybe the greatest drummer who ever lived, but he doesn't seem to show up much in bebop and doesn't seem to have made much of a mark there. What's the deal with that? For all his skill, I don't see he played much outside of classical jazz but maybe I'm wrong. There were fewer genres of music back then but I don't see he played much in rock, soul, pop, blues, funk, world or country. All that just kind of pass him by. Nowdays, it seems like the really great drummers stand out in several genres.
That's like asking why he didn't stand out in death metal or racing cars
 
W

wy yung

Guest
I think he simply prefered large ensembles. He certainly played with many small groups. Particualarly with JATP. Where he reportedly did wonderful work.
 

Average

Senior Member
He played on an album called Tuff Dude. It has a couple really interesting songs on it, noteably Sierra Lonely and Nica's Dream. I'm not sure I would call it bop but it is an interesting departure from his big band stuff. There is also a multi CD set of recordings of him playing in various small groups. I've got it in my basement somewhere.

Although he is primarily known for big band stuff, he did do quite a few small group performances. My dad claims that he went with my mother (when she was pregnant with me) to see BR play at a place called Andy's in Chicago. That was a small group gig. I get a kick out of that story because I used to play at Andy's now and again. Anyway I digress.

Here is another thought on why he wasn't in the bop scene - bop was a rebellion against the big band era, of which he is a very big figure. Also, putting yourself out there as 'the world's greatest drummer' doesn't win you many friends. Basically you're painting a huge target on yourself.
 
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