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The Drum Battle

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Album Review

This set was initially issued as the 15th instalment in Norman Grantz's Jazz at the Philharmonic series of LPs, EPs, and 45s. As that highly collectible compilation of performances has been out of print since the 1960s, many of the volumes were later issued under the respective artists' name. As the title would imply, Drum Battle: Jazz at the Philharmonic features the artistry of the Gene Krupa Trio with Buddy Rich (drums) sitting in on a few numbers as well as the inimitable jazz scat vocalizations of Ella Fitzgerald on a hot steppin' and definitive "Perdido." Opening the disc is Krupa's trio with Willie Smith (alto sax) and Hank Jones (piano) providing a solid and singularly swinging rhythm section. While Smith drives the band, Krupa is front and center with his antagonistic percussive prodding. "Idaho" is marked with Jones' rollicking post-bop mastery as he trades solos with Smith and can be heard quoting lines from Monk before yielding to Smith. The cover of Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Lady" sparkles from beginning to end. Jones' opening flourish sets the tenure as Smith settles into a smoky lead, containing some nice syncopation and regal augmentation from Jones. Krupa primarily provides ample rhythm work on the emotive ballad. Smith's diversion into "Stormy Weather" is notable for exemplifying the lyrically improvisational nature of this combo. The tempo is significantly stepped up on a cover of Benny Goodman's "Flying Home," which is full of high-spirited playing and garners a sizable reaction from the audience. The lengthy "Drum Boogie" is one of Krupa's signature pieces and is greeted with tremendous enthusiasm. Buddy Rich climbs on board for a one-on-one duel with Krupa, whose styles mesh into a mile-a-minute wash of profound percussion. The duet segues into an inspired and free-form jam on "Perdido," with Fitzgerald belting out her lines with authority, class, and most of all, soul.

Customer Reviews

This Time in Musicianship...

This time in drumming, was not about the double-bass and making the drums sound cool by banging the crap out of them with no synchronization of a beat. These drummers knew what they were doing, and played a song right down the very last note. Like percussion was meant to be played. The way drums are being portrayed now - with Joey Jordison being the main figure and considered the best drummer on the planet, makes me sick. Yes, he has talent. Yes, he is good with his stupid double-bass pedal, but ask him to play a Buddy Rich or Gene Krupa solo, and watch him crumble. I personally believe that these guys were the best drummers of all time, and deserve the respect of drummers everywhere. Just because they don't suffice certain people's short attention spans, does not mean that they should be disrespected. To me, a drummer, classically-trained and knowledgeable about the art of percussion, cannot be beaten. Behind these guys, in my book, is Neil Peart. He is another perfect example of a classically trained drummer that can still ROCK the teeth right out your mouth! So, don't give me any crap about how Joey from Slipknot and Travis Barker are the best drummers on the planet. I'm 14 and I can play that stuff. This time in music, and these drummers... It doesn't get any better.

The greatest drummers ever...

Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa are respected and admired by many drummers and have claimed the fame of being drum gods. People now-a-days are so ignorant to what a good drummer is, for instance that boost mobile commercial with Travis Barker, everyone after that was like "He's the best drummer of all time!" all i can say to him is that he's horrible compared to these legends of drums.

Who... Keith?

OK, just the fact that the last review of this ended with "do some research" in regards to Keith Moon being the best drummer of all time made me laugh, so I had to write a review of this amazing album. Dude, do you really think that people listening to this cd have never heard of The Who? The reason it may seem that Keith Moon is underrated (since you're probably the first person I've EVER heard call him the greatest drummer of all time) is because he simply can't hold a candle to the likes of these LEGENDS. The Who are legends, and Keith Moon was the drummer. That's about as good as it gets for him, I'm afraid.


Born: September 30, 1917 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '10s, '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

When it came to technique, speed, power, and the ability to put together incredible drum solos, Buddy Rich lived up to the billing of "the world's greatest drummer." Although some other drummers were more innovative, in reality none were in his league even during the early days. A genius, Buddy Rich started playing drums in vaudeville as "Traps, the Drum Wonder" when he was only 18 months old; he was completely self-taught. Rich performed in vaudeville throughout his childhood and developed into...
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The Drum Battle, Buddy Rich
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