For Mighty Max: Gene Krupa’s 20th Century Drum Master

Finally… after months of delays, because of scheduling conflicts and of course, the tragic passing of The Big Man, we will get to see Max Weinberg at the Grammy Museum tonight!  I am so honored and excited.

I believe I am getting a copy of the Max Weinberg 7’s CD tonight, so I can not yet write about it, and it is not on Spotify, gosh darn it!  That was my go to record for today.  Doh.  And since I am gearing up for a Boss Week, I wanted to hold off on doing another Springsteen album… for now!

Tomorrow, I am doing something I have not done before… I will listen to the new Wilco album for the very first time and write about it as each track comes up.  No taking it in, or thoroughly digesting it… As I hear it and feel it, so will you… hopefully…

I am calling this new feature, Track by Track.  Usually I will listen to something… sometimes more than once… and let it gestate… see what it inspires me to feel and write about.  Tomorrow will be as spontaneous as you can get… Whatever pops into my mind is what you are getting, so stay tuned!

But for today… the great… the powerful… the influential Gene Krupa.

Gene Krupa – 2oth Century Drum Master

Max had many influences… D. J. Fontana, Elvis’ drummer who he saw on TV at age 5… The incomparable Buddy Rich…  Ed Shaughnessy of Doc Severinsen’s Tonight Show BandGene Krupa, of course and later Ringo Starr.

I could listen to all of these guys.

Here’s the thing… I have pretty good rhythm… but I am not a drummer… Could never BE a drummer.  I think too much, and it takes way too much thought to get my left hand to do something different that my left foot, or right foot or right hand.  I am not that coordinated.  But I do know a great drummer when I see one… and luckily for me, I have seen some amazing drummers.

I never saw Gene play live, but in listening to this CD you just know how his playing could influence generations of drummers.  He passed away in 1973, about a year before Max auditioned for and was asked to join the E Street Band.

If you want a quick history in jazz and Big Band drumming, this disc is it… a brilliant collection of the mighty music that once was… and still is, in many circles.  One need only look at Max Weinberg and Brian Setzer to see a few shining examples of the current torch bearers.

Gene started off in Chicago, playing for the Thelma Terry Band.  He also played for Glenn Miller and Coleman Hawkins.

He moved to New York City in 1929 and began playing with Benny Goodman, which made him a celebrity and provided the world with perhaps his most famous drumming on the huge hit “Sing, Sing, Sing”

His drumming was “the first extended drum solos to be recorded commercially” and in 1938, “Krupa performed with the Goodman Orchestra in the famous Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert.”

In 1939, Gene Krupa and his Orchestra appeared in the Paramount movie Some Like It Hot, which starred [Bob Hope & Shirley Ross], performing the title song, “Blue Rhythm Fantasy,” and “The Lady’s in Love with You.”

(Not the 1959 Billy Wilder movie)!

“Many consider Krupa to be one of the most influential drummers of the 20th century, particularly regarding the development of the drum kit. Many jazz historians believe he made history in 1927 as the first kit drummer ever to record using a bass drum pedal… He is also credited with inventing the rim shot on the snare drum.”

So tonight I get to see one of his prodigies and one of my heroes… Mighty Max!

Drum, baby drum!!!


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Filed under Life... Plain and Not So Simple, Marc's Mixed Bag - A Little Of Everything, Marc's Playlist - Music That Moves Me

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