Buddy & Henry

"Every drummer knew about the young Buddy Rich, Traps the Drum Wonder", Henry told me. "He was 18 months old when he first got in front of an audience, he'd bring them to their feet -every show! Buddy looked me up when he was 17. "I want to be a jazz drummer", he told me... lets see you play". Buddy sat down and played on Henry's practice pad. "I've never seen anyone play like him!" Was it his speed that got your attention...?", I asked. "Buddy put everything in the right place with great ideas -there was nothing I could show him...except one thing. He couldn't read drum notation, so I kept giving him lessons, but he would come back to me empty handed."

Bernard "Buddy" Rich was born September 30, 1917 In Brooklyn, New York to Robert and Bess Rich. Buddy's parents where the team Wilson & Rich, vaudevillians who discovered Buddy's talents and lovingly nurtured Buddy into a seasoned performer by the age of four. By then he was a regular performer on Broadway and the second highest paid child performer. His singing, tap dancing and comedic talents where all the rage, but drumming was Buddy's first call. He proceeded to tour the world performing for dignitaries, Queens and presidents.

As the swing era became the world's leading music genre, Buddy became intrigued and then hooked after hearing The Benny Goodman Quartet. He had heard the call to become a jazz drummer.

"After Buddy got permission from his parents, I brought him down to the Hickory House to sit in with the Joe Marsalla band. Well, no one had ever heard the likes of Buddy Rich. At the end of "Jim-jam-jump..." Buddy took a drum solo and everyone went wild!"

"Buddy was hired on the spot!"

By 1945, Buddy rich had toured with the Bunny Berigan, Artie Shaw and Tommy Dorsey big bands. Frank Sinatra backed Buddy's first attempt with his own big band from 1945-1947, but was not successful. He toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic, recorded with countless all-stars in the 1950s for Verve including Charlie Parker, Art Tatum, Lionel Hampton and Lester Young. He worked with Les Brown, Charlie Ventura, Tommy Dorsey 1954-1955 and Harry James off and on from1953-1966. A heart attack in 1959 was his first sign of health issues. Buddy was told never to drum again. He flirted with being a crooner, but he never gave up the drums.

In 1966 Frank Sinatra, again, backed Buddy's second attempt to lead his own big band. Until his death, April 2, 1987, Buddy Rich played better than ever giving 110% every time he performed.

Buddy was self-taught. His inability to read music was eclipsed with a photographic memory. He would hear a new arrangement, sit behind his drums and play it as if he wrote it. His drum solos where driven by his amazing ideas. His speed has never been equaled.

"I've been working on [the] technique. I have gained control and speed already. My wrists are starting to open up more, speed comes with less effort." --Andrew Campbell

- testimonial