In this month’s Jazz Drummer’s Workshop, the author and educator Eric Fischer analyzes one of Buddy Rich’s earliest surviving recordings. We reached out to our readers and social media followers to find out what other performances from throughout the legendary drummer’s remarkable career rank highly among the drum community.
“Love for Sale” from Big Swing Face. Buddy’s band swings like no other. The tempo is absolutely perfect, although it’s slightly quicker than other versions. And the technical precision demonstrated during his single-stroke drum breaks is awe-inspiring. In my opinion, no group since comes close to Buddy and his band.
“Channel One Suite” from Mercy, Mercy really showcased his raw talent and speed. And the last minute of machine gun–fire snare patterns is crazy!
“Diabolus” from the album The New One! The entire performance is stellar, but the second drum solo that kicks in around the 6:23 mark is just mind-boggling to me. I still can’t believe what I’m hearing, and I have yet to figure out what he’s doing on the snare.
Big Swing Face, because the first time I listened to that entire album I understood what my drum teacher meant by playing ahead of the beat. He had previously tried to explain the concept, but I had a hard time understanding it, so instead he told me to listen to that record.
Buddy’s playing isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but he was undeniably a virtuoso—and his band wasn’t too shabby either. Aside from his ability, Buddy’s playing created a sense of excitement as he pushed the whole orchestra along.
“The Rotten Kid” from the album The New One! has groove, swing, and chops all in one. And any of his appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson are untouchable.
I’ve listened to the live version of “Channel One Suite” from The Best of Buddy Rich: The Pacific Jazz Years many times. I had to play it back in high school, and I remember being in awe of every precise drum break, [each] feel change, and the overall energy and excitement of the piece.
His comping was great behind the sax solo on “The Rotten Kid,” and during the shout section at the end of that song he created a wall of sound for the band to ride like only he could.
Live at the 1982 Montreal Jazz Festival. I love the way Buddy’s drums sound in that show, and his playing on “Brush Strokes” is mesmerizing. But when I want to listen to one of Buddy’s albums, I usually play Big Swing Face because it swings incredibly.
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Thank you for the much deserved second cover story on Mastodon’s Brann Dailor [August 2018 issue]. I got the chance to see them co-headline with Primus on their recent tour, and to meet Brann, the band, and the supporting crew. Everyone was professional, down-to-earth, and extremely gracious with family and visitors alike. I got to see Brann interact with fans, and he offered them words of thanks and encouragement. The band members spoke at length about their shared passions and drive to make their art and how they don’t take their success for granted, which were sentiments echoed in Brann’s cover story.
Having met him and the band, it’s clear they’re not just great musicians, but close friends who remain normal, approachable guys despite their fame and success—character traits that will continue to serve them, their music, and their fans well.
The feature on Lisa Pankratz in our September issue should have included the fact that she is an official endorser of Promark drumsticks.