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Bernard "Buddy" Rich

By the time he was six years old, Buddy Rich (aka "Traps, the Boy Wonder") had performed--as a drummer, tap dancer, and singer--with his parents' vaudeville act on Broadway, across the United States, and abroad. With the demise of the vaudeville circuit and the beginning of the swing era, Rich became an orchestra musician. His talents as a drummer landed him a job with Joe Marsala's band at the Hickory House in New York City in 1937. This led to a long line of high-profile performances with Bunny Berrigan, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, and Benny Carter. Rich's playing style was characterized by phenomenal speed, four-way independence, and an uncanny way of driving a big band.

 


Jazz Drum Set

Like ragtime, the parent music of jazz, the drum set evolved from the marching band tradition. Drums essentially kept time for the ensemble and dancers, and provided added dynamics and sound effects. During the big band era of the 1930s, the excitement and swing of the music was generated by the rhythm section, usually consisting of piano, guitar, bass, and drums. The 1940s and 1950s saw a transformation of the role of the drummer into a participant, with horn soloists, in the improvisatory style of modern jazz. Drummers such as Buddy Rich, Chick Webb, Gene Krupa, and Cozy Cole gained prominence as soloists. Today, the drum set is an integral component of the jazz ensemble, heard around the world in almost all popular music.

 

Related Images

Cymbals from Buddy Rich's drum set
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Cymbals from Buddy Rich's drum set
Drum from Buddy Rich's drum set
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Drum from Buddy Rich's drum set
Buddy Rich's drum set
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Buddy Rich's drum set
Buddy Rich's drum set
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Buddy Rich's drum set


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