Buddy Rich – keep a straight face…..

Mention the name of Buddy Rich to jazz musicians and often a smile will appear. At the height of his fame in the late ’70’s there was the appearance (above) on the Muppet Show. Then there are the jokes. Like the one about a former band member who hears Rich has died, and can’t leave the phone alone. Rich’s widow takes the fifth call on the same day, the man just keeps asking to be put through, she’s getting more and more exasperated :

“I’ve told you . BUDDY IS DEAD. Why do you keep on ringing?”
“I just like hearing you say it.”

Or this one

Gene Krupa goes out to his mailbox one day and finds an envelope
addressed to “The Worlds Greatest Drummer”. He looks at the envelope
and thinks, “Well I’m good but I don’t think I’m the greatest.” So he sends the envelope to Louie Bellson.
Bellson looks at the envelope and thinks “I’m really good but there must be
one drummer in the world greater than me.” So he sends it to Buddy Rich.
Rich opens the envelope and starts to read. “Dear Ringo . . . “

Or this one:

An amateur drummer dies and goes to heaven. He’s waiting outside the pearly gates when he hears the most incredible fast and furious drumming coming from within. Immediately he recognizes the playing and rushes to ask St. Peter if that’s Buddy Rich playing drums inside the gates. St. Peter responds: “No, that’s God. He just thinks he’s Buddy Rich.”

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Buddy died in 1987 , but still has a particular aura. I haven’t checked for accuracy, but download the audio clips in this feat of scholarship from Rochester Institute of Technology , and you will have the pleasure (?) of hearing Buddy Rich berating his band members with the f-word precisely 132 times .

Bassist, educator and all-round good guy Dave Jones, who runs the Richmond Jazz School, emailed me about Pete Cater’s Cadogan Hall gig on Monday 16th, 7.30pm. Jones and Cater have been brothers-in-rhythm together for nearly twenty years.

I’m looking forward to the gig. Cater is a phenomenal drummer, plus he has a great line-up. Two genuine Rich alumni are in the saxes: Bob Martin on alto from New Jersey, and first-choice-in-town baritone Jay Craig from Edinburgh. Craig got his chair in the Rich band after studies at Berklee in Boston. The gig will feaature charts like Funk City Ola, the West Side Story medley and Love for Sale. Plus the unfamiliar: Cater tells me: “These days the charts seem to find me, from obscure towns in all corners the US.”

To find out more about Cater go to Pete Cater Big Band website. Cadogan Hall tell me that tickets for this celebration are selling well.

Categories: miscellaneous

3 replies »

  1. Animal was played by Ronnie Verrell. Jack Parnell was Musical Director at ATV. He hadn’t touched the drums for years when the Muppet Show was going. He went back to playing after leaving the ATV job.

  2. Animal was Ronnie Verrell, not Jack Parnell. Jack was Musical Director at ATV at the time and hadn’t touched the drums for ages. He took up playing again after leaving ATV.

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