Major, major improvements and renovations have come to the JazzLegends.com site, courtesy of our resident, genius of a webmaster, Terry McKyton. Improvement highlights include a wider design to match the standard users’ screen, a cleaner and less cluttered design, better layout of DVDs and CDs that will allow for track lists and a download/preview area, and banners that will point to new products on the site, holiday specials, etc.

Yes, I did mention “downloads,” and that feature will be instituted shortly. We are going to start with three of our most popular CDs, “Gene Krupa: The Great Concert,” “Gene Krupa Quartet at JATP: 1955,” and the famed “Benny Goodman/Gene Krupa Performance Recordings: 1937-1938.” Rest assured that the download process will be easy to use (there will even be short previews of songs that will help you to decide whether or not to buy) and at more-than-reasonable prices. If the response to this is positive, as it should be, we will be adding more CDs available for download each week.

One of the most obvious changes to the site in terms of visuals is the absence of the Google ads. Terry and I agree that, for whatever the minimal dollar value to JazzLegends.com, the ads were not attractive . They didn’t add much in terms of information, and they just took away from what we try to do on the site.

We have been rushing to come up with a real “special” in time for the holiday season, and along with the Jazzlegends.com gift certificate, we think we have it. This is a boxed set of four CDs, chosen by yours truly–“The Great Concert,” “Gene Krupa: 1943,” “Rare and Live: 1941-1942,” and “Steve Allen Tonight Shows 1954 and 1955”–plus a copy of the increasingly rare book, “World of Gene Krupa: That Legendary Drummin’ Man.” This $75 value is yours, in a gift box with free shipping worldwide, for $69.95. Ho, ho, and another ho.

I have not mentioned the name of Buddy Rich in this space for some time. However, if the name of our site is “JazzLegends,” then the world’s greatest drummer cannot be ignored. I want to go on record as saying that Buddy’s daughter, Cathy, continues to be tirelessly devoted to perpetuating all that was and is good about Buddy. Most of you have heard about the “Buddy Rich Drum Company,” which has been garnering nice notices in and out of the industry and is a part of some really neat promotions, including one in Modern Drummer’s special publication, Drum Gods, in the trades. For more information on these fine drums, visit BuddyRichDrumCompany.com. There is also a new Buddy CD out, culled from the famed, mid-1970s live tapes recorded by bandsman Alan Gauvin, with Buddy’s blessings. The CD is entitled “Time Out,” and it’s one of the best Buddy Rich recordings, from any decade, to be released in years. One listen to any cut at all will make us all realize why he was and is Buddy Rich, and why there will never, ever, ever be another. Products like these are not easy to get out to the marketplace, whether one is related to Buddy Rich or not. Cathy Rich deserves recognition and our thanks for getting these fabulous items out there properly.

In terms of other gift items, don’t forget the Bopworks, Gene Krupa model drum sticks, or the great new DVD from Hudson Music, “Classic Rock Drum Solos.” Set aside the labels of jazz and rock for a moment. This DVD is for drum fans, no matter what the style of music. I guarantee that you will be astounded by the technical virtuosity of Carl Palmer. Michael Shrieve, host Carmine Appice, Clive Bunker, Ginger Baker, Steve Smith, Cozy Powell, Neil Peart and various others. Additionally, there is an entire section devoted to the origin of rock solo drumming that features Krupa (with Carmine Appice doing a great impression of him), Louis Prima’s Jimmy Vincent, Louis Jordan’s Shadow Wilson. the Lionel Hampton band, Bill Haley’s Ralph Jones, The Ventures’ Mel Taylor, and the only film in existence of the first rock drum star, Sandy “Let There Be Drums” Nelson. We will probably be making this available on our site shortly, but right now, log on to HudsonMusic.com for further information.

Joy Adams and I are in Naples, Florida, until the early spring, enjoying the kids and the grand kids. As mentioned in this site several times over the years, the music scene is fabulous in Naples, and we are playing and singing–individually and collectively–at least twice a week. After hearing the new Buddy CD, I may have to cut it down to once a week!

God bless, keep swingin’, and all good wishes for the holiday and beyond,

Bruce Klauber November, 2007.

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