GENE KRUPA: The Pictorial Life of a Jazz Legend

When Mel Torme’ first volunteered to write the foreword to “Gene Krupa: That Legendary Drummin’ Man,” he only made one suggestion: that the book contain plenty of photographs, because Gene was, without doubt, probably the most visual of any jazz performer. While the book does contain a nice selection of photographs, the material in that work now dates back over 14 years. My personal collection of Krupa photos has grown quite substantially since then, with many given to me by friends, collectors and colleagues. Paul Testa, in particular, is not only one of the great drummers working today, but has demonstrated a love and respect for Gene and Gene’s music that is unparalleled anywhere. His own collection Krupa material, which he has graciously shared with me over the years, has enriched my knowledge and appreciation of Gene Krupa as well. 

From time to time, I look through some of these great, vintage shots, and I am reminded of the days when there were such things as LP records and LP record jackets. Certainly many of us, especially drummers, spent hours and hours just looking at the photos on the record jackets, particularly if the pictures were of Gene…or Buddy. A concept was developing somewhere with all of this, and it has turned out to be an idea I’ve been floating about for several years. “Gene Krupa: The Pictorial Life of a Jazz Legend” is just that: over 100 photos of Gene Krupa through the ages, from the 1920s to the 1970s, with commentary that places each picture in musical and historical perspective. Interspersed throughout will be some comment from today’s greatest drummers, like John Blackwell, Steve Smith, and several others. 

It appears that “Gene Krupa: The Pictorial Life of a Jazz Legend” will likely be a reality within the next year, and an actual deal, however reasonable it is, is in the works. As a companion piece to the book, the publishers and I are considering including a companion CD of rare Krupa audio, culled from the collection. I have always insisted on fairness in pricing, and I can pretty much tell you that the whole package will probably be under $20. 

This is exciting news, indeed, and I am inviting you to check in with your opinions (and a show of support that I could pass along to the publisher) as to what you’d like to see. 

While I don’t want to give away all the details of the contents at this early stage, I can tell you two things: Gene was a loyal human being, and through his life, he only endorsed one brand of drums and one brand of cymbals. So count on seeing plenty of pictures of Slingerland Drums and Zildjian Cymbals. God bless and keep swingin’. 

By Bruce H. Klauber, D., Mus.

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.