Jazz: September 2008
I cannot think of a business or an individual who has not been touched by the unfortunate economic situation in this country in some way, shape or form. JazzLegend.com is no exception. After all, is there really a choice between filling the gas tank or spending $20 for a Gene Krupa DVD? While I’m confident that a good many of you, and God bless you for it, would go for the Krupa DVD, most just cannot. And I understand. Over the summer, we experimented with the idea of pricing each and every JazzLegends.com DVD, CD and book at $15, with free shipping worldwide, of course. The response was so overwhelming that we are still, believe it or not, fulfilling orders. In an effort to lend an assist to the economy, the thousands of collectors out there, and to benefit JazzLegends.com, we are changing our pricing structure for the immediate future: Everything is, once again, $15.
Please take advantage of this extraordinary price break, and please be patient with delivery. As many of you know, each order is custom made, custom duplicated and custom shipped, and if something is not right or not exactly what you wanted or were looking for, we hope we’ve demonstrated our desire and ability to go to the ends of the earth until everyone is happy.
The only thing we ask in return is, given the low, low price and the fact that we continue to offer free shipping all over the world, please think about ordering more than one item. That’s all we ask.
Despite our recent rants about YouTube and the “vintage footage for free” situation, there are still outfits out there who know there is a market for unearthed discoveries. The folks running the “Jazz Icons” organization is one example. Another is Drum Workshop, Inc., one of the world’s premier manufacturers of quality drums, and certainly the makers of the best drums in the United States.
Drum Workshop, in addition to prepping the internet DrumChannel.com, has gotten into the DVD business in an impressive way. In the coming months, look for three of the most sought after programs in jazz drumming history: The famed, Buddy Rich, Statler Hilton programs.
For those unfamiliar with the shows, here’s a bit of background
Collectors of Buddy Rich material, and there are many all over the world, have their “Buddy Rich holy grail list. The “Eddie Condon Floor Show” television programs from the late 1940s, where Rich relaxed, sang, played and danced with dixielanders and mainstreamers, are high on that list. Right now, only some audio portions have been discovered.
Then there are those who still believe there is film from the Krupa and Rich “original drum battle at Jazz at the Philharmonic” of 1952. Norman Granz, the late producer of JATP and mastermind behind the famous duel, repeatedly denied there was any film taken of Gene, Buddy or any Jazz at the Philharmonic show.
The third item that has been discussed by collectors and fans throught the years are the Statler Hilton Shows.
In the past 10 or so seasons, there wasn’t a year that didn’t go by where someone stepped forward and claimed to have or own the shows and/or to know someone who did. A snippet or two did surface, but nothing ever more than a tantalizing minutes’ worth. Now, thanks to Drum Workshop and Cathy Rich, they will soon be in wide release, in all their mesmerizing entirety.
It would have been great if Rich had been able to do television programs like these on a regular basis throughout his career. They combined all facets of his talents as a player, as a personality and as champion of jazz.
And, of course, he was no stranger to television, having appeared often during the 1950s on “The Steve Allen Show,” “Broadway Open House,” “The Marge and Gower Champion Show,” “The Patti Page Show” and various others. And from the 1960s through the 1980s, hardly a month went by without an appearance on programs hosted by Johnny Carson, Dick Cavett, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas and Dinah Shore.
In December of 1981, Buddy told author Doug Meriwether that there were plans afoot for an actual Buddy Rich TV series. “We’re going to have our own series very soon on PBS,” he told Meriwether. “Yeah, with the whole band and some guests who will be appearing with us, taped before a live audience. It’s something I’ve wanted. I’d been told more than once by people who supposedly knew what they were talking about, that the audience for a jazz series, man, was just too small. I never bought into that, and I feel we can prove them wrong.”
Well…he did and didn’t. Three programs were filmed on February 16th through the 18th, 1982. at the Terrace Ballroom within New York city’s venerable Statler Hilton Hotel. They were and are remarkable, but they were never sold, perhaps never offered for sale, never aired and no other episodes were filmed. A very, very few have even seen them.
And Buddy’s guest stars on these three shows? How about Mel Torme’, Lionel Hampton, Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Ray Charles, Anita O’Day and Woody Herman? Wow.
Rich didn’t wait around to see if the programs were sold or aired. As usual, he just went straight ahead after the taping of the shows, and continued to be a constant guest star on everyone else’s talk, music or variety show. Indeed, three weeks after the filming of these shows, Buddy and the band were off to London to tour with Tony Bennett and Sammy Davis, Dr., with no looking back.
Watch this space for release dates and availability.