Jun 12, 2020
Back on January 20th - and doesn't that seem like a year or so ago? - I posted Podcast 720, which featured Cathy RIch, the daughter of legendary drummer Buddy Rich, talking about her father, and the posthumous release of Just in Time: The Final Recording, a live set recorded at Ronnie Scott's in London. At that time, we also talked about the publication of Buddy Rich -One of a Kind: The Making of The World’s Greatest Drummer, a biography by Pelle Berglund. Five months later, I have Dr. Bruce Klauber on the show to discuss the book, which is a strikingly detailed history of Rich's career.
And what a carrer it was! From vaudeville through swing and bop, and more, Rich was at the center of almost every major historical event in jazz history. Many of those he played with - from Bunny Berigan, Artie Shaw, and Tommy Dorsey through Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald and Thelonious Monk and beyond - were not well known to me, and so the book becomes an important guide.
Rich is a complex figure, and the stories of his temper and stubborness often overshadow his generosity, love for jazz, and support for those he cared for. This book gives us a chance to see beyond the tough-guy veneer he carefully cultivated, and perhaps get a glimpse of the real man.
Dr. Klauber is an unabashed fan of Rich, and of the great drummers of the swing period in particular. He is the biographer of jazz great Gene Krupa, and writer/producer of the Warner Brothers “Jazz Legends” DVD series, As a drummer, he has played with dozens of jazz giants, including Al Grey, Milt Buckner, Pepper Adams, Jerry Dodgian, Charlie Ventura, and singers Anita O’Day and Joanie Sommers.
Podcast 748 is my conversation with Bruce, as we discuss the ups and downs of the career of Buddy Rich, and how the book came to be. Musical selections from Buddy RIch as a sideman and leader include:
Ella Fitzgerald, Hank Jones, Ray Brown, Buddy Rich - "Basin Street Blues" and Buck Clayton, Trummy Young, Willie Smith, Flip Phillips, Kenny Kersey, Benny Fonville, Buddy Rich - "Bell Boy Blues," both from The Complete Jazz at the Philharmonic on Verve: 1944-1949.
Charlie Parker - "Just Friends" from Charlie Parker with Strings.
Buddy Rich - "Solo 4 (Live from Sacramento, CA, 1977)" from The Solos.