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Gene Krupa Live At the New School

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Album Review

During the last years of his life, Gene Krupa suffered from more than his share of health problems, including leukemia, emphysema, heart disease, and severe back pain. But despite all he went through, the drummer was still able to provide some inspired performances here and there. One of them came on April 17, 1973, when he was joined by tenor saxman Eddie Shu, pianist John Bunch, and bassist Nabil Total at the New School in New York. That performance, recorded only six months before Krupa's death, went unreleased for 26 years but finally saw the light of day when Chiaroscuro put out Live at the New School in 1999. This CD finds Krupa in good form, and the drummer's many health problems don't prevent him from playing with a lot of enthusiasm on swing era classics like "Sing, Sing, Sing," "Don't Be That Way," "Take the A Train," and "Undecided." Unfortunately, the sound quality isn't great — listenable, certainly, although not very sharp and not great by 1973 standards. But while Live at the New School falls short of essential, it's a valuable and historically important recording just the same — and it's one that completists and Krupa's diehard fans will be glad to have.


Born: 15 January 1909 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

The first drummer to be a superstar, Gene Krupa may not have been the most advanced drummer of the 1930s but he was in some ways the most significant. Prior to Krupa, drum solos were a real rarity and the drums were thought of as a merely supportive instrument. With his good looks and colorful playing, he became a matinee idol and changed the image of drummers forever. Gene Krupa made history with his first record. For a session in 1927 with the McKenzie-Condon Chicagoans, he became the first musician...
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Gene Krupa Live At the New School, Gene Krupa
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