Posts Tagged ‘BUDDY RICH’


Friday, April 26th, 2013

1. The Community Pages are important to We need your donations to continue it and to continue to welcome members like Evan Shulman, son of Eddie Shu. I am spending at least one hour per day, seven days per week, deleting the spammers that seem to find the site attractive, in order to make it easier for members to use.

2. Postage has gone up. Overseas postage has more than doubled. We want to keep going at the site, and I am urging–overseas visitors especially–to order more than one item. Otherwise, I end up losing money on every order. This can only continue for so long.

3. What you get at From time to time, we still get a complaint that says something like: “I thought such-and-such a title was a commercial issue, with full-color art, detailed notes and state-of-the-art sound.” If that’s what you want, look elsewhere. Nothing we have, with the exception of long-deleted LPs that have never been issued on CD, was ever commercially issued. And if you’re concerned that some of the film footage on our DVDs looks as if it’s 75 years old, that’s because it is.

4. I continue in my pledge to find those rarities and new discoveries that no one thought existed. Help me out, will you? Order stuff, make a donation or both.

Have a swingin’ spring and beyond,
Bruce Klauber


Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

Celebrity biographer Darwin Porter has written several celebrity biographies—including those on Humprhey Bogart, Steve McQueen, Marlon Brando, Paul Newman and now, Frank Sinatra, for a publishing house called Blood Moon Productions, Ltd.

In all of his “works,” if you want to call them that, Porter sets out to prove that all of these dead stars were homosexual, bi-sexual, or at the very least, had homosexual experiences. Usually with each other.

The author also makes sure that a goodly number of pages are devoted to the size and other physical attributes of the celebrity’s genitals, male and female, as well as the frequently and quality of their use.

To be sure, some may be interested in this, but the problem with Porter and his publisher and sometimes collaborator, Danforth Price, is that a very high percentage of their “reporting,” if you want to call it that, is absolutely and totally untrue.

Calling this stuff “fiction” would be to kind. So let’s call it “beyond fantasy.”

If there’s a rating on garbage and slime, these books should get five stars. If there’s a rating on sociopathic sleaze merchants and greedy parasites, Porter and Prince should get the highest rating.

To simplify the issue: Porter and Prince, and a $500 reward if those are their real names, personify the human faces of feces.

They should be dealt with accordingly.

Conveniently, virtually every character who shows up in these “books,” if you want to call them that, is dead. How nice for Porter and Price is that you can’t libel the deceased.

I am appalled that things like this are published, that pieces of diarrhea like Porter are paid to create such things, that companies publish them, and most unbelievably, that libraries carry them. But, as we all know, the First Amendment protects even tripe like this.

The latest Porter/Price Blood Moon Production is called “Frank Sinatra / The Boudoir Singer: All the Gossip Unfit to Print,” which is similar to all of the author’s other works, in that he creates situations, scenarios and dialogue—written as direct quotations, no less—without any proof or any attribution (unless lifted from another celeb bios, and Porter lifts often) whatsoever.

Sexuality is a personal choice and a personal matter that’s not my business or concern. Homosexuality? To quote Seinfeld: “Not that there’s anything wrong with it.”

But to make up degrading, inaccurate and impossible sexual situations out of absolute whole cloth is shameful. I won’t stoop as low as to name all the names and detail situations, except to say that Darwin Porter would not have had the balls to write this waste if Sinatra, Dean Martin and several others within were alive.

Something tells me that if they were, Darwin Porter and Danforth Price would have likely been made an offer they could not refuse.

And no one is immune from Darwin Porter’s fictional, psycho-sexual slime, including someone we know and love as the “world’s greatest drummer.” If Cathy Rich ever reads this filth, I know she’ll do something legally about it.

I never believed there actually was an excuse for a person named Darwin Porter, but I saw him on television with my own eyes, promoting, I think, an upcoming literary effort, if you want to call it that, on Elizabeth Taylor. Given what this less than human being does for a living, showing his face in public wasn’t the brightest move.

Think of it! In the world of Darwin Porter, anyone can say anything about anyone, have it printed and make money from it. Anyone can think of any celebrity—remember, for legal reasons, they have to be dead—construct the wildest sexual scenario imaginable, write it down, get it published, and get paid for it. Think of it! Marilyn having sex in a swimming pool with Elvis just to make Sinatra jealous!

Don’t laugh. That’s one of the milder scenes within these pages.

There’s only one way whereby something like this could even be slightly justified. On the cover, in large letters, print the words: Fictional Pornographic Fantasies Within.

It’s not surprising that the quality of their actual prose is, at best, less than amateurish. Even the “made up” quotes sound horribly phony, and have absolutely nothing to do with how these people spoke publicly or privately.

By the way, as an important note to Mr. Porter and Mr. Price: My Uncle Al had intimate relations with both of your mothers. Your second cousin told me while he was in the sauna with Eddie Fisher. Lucky for me, Uncle Al, your mothers, your cousin and Eddie Fisher are dead. So sue me.


Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Television reality shows, specifically amateur talent competitions, focus on everything from singing and dancing to cooking and home remodeling.

Think there will ever be a reality/competition program devoted to jazz?

You never know, but the fact is, there actually was one, and it had all the qualities of today’s programming, excepting the fact that this one was anything but an amateur show.

Around 1962, an somewhat elderly gent and jazz fan–whose name escapes me– who had served in the production department of Universal Pictures for years had an idea for a television pilot.

His concept was simple: Pit two, “name” jazz groups againist each other in friendly competition, hire celebrity judges and a celebrity host, determine the winner by the amount of audience applause, award the winner $6,000 in cash and the opportunity to slug it out against another group the following week, and give the loser a generous $4,000.

This actually happened. The title was “Championship Jazz” and the television pilot was filmed before a live audience in 1962. Voice of America’s famed WIllis J. Conover was hired as host. Writer George T. Simon and Woody Herman signed on as celeb judges.

The bands? The Dukes of Dixieland, and none other than the Gene Krupa Jazz Quartet featuring Charlie Ventura.

This is an absolutely incredible program and is the only filmed record of Gene’s famed group at the time, which also featured pianist John Bunch and bassist Knobby Totah, playing “Drum Boogie,” “Dark Eyes” and “Big Noise from Winnetka.”

I won’t divulge the winner.

As great as this was, it never made it to television, and that’s sad, because groups being considered as future competitors included the Modern Jazz Quartet, Oscar Peterson Trio, George Shearing Quintet, etc.

Wow! went to great, great lengths to obtain a screening copy (with time code at the bottom of the screen) of this superb and semi-legendary half-hour program.

It’s listed under “The Champ” (the second half features the entire Krupa/Rich drum battle sequence from the Sammy Davis TV program of 1966)

If you don’t have it, you should. This is, after all, reality.

BUDDY RICH TRIVIA: You won’t believe who he’s played with!

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Those who remember the firery, hard-swinging, uncompromising, perfectionist known as “the world’s greatest drummer” may be in for a surprise after perusing the following.

Before moving on, however, bear in mind that Buddy Rich was, for a good part of his career, as much a part of show business as he was a part of jazz. As a sideman with the orchestras of Bunny Berigan, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey and Harry James, part of his job description was playing shows, backing star singers and dancers, drumming for floor shows, etc. All of that was just part of the gig, plain and simple. Even a glance at a detailed Coltrane itinerary shows that, in the course of a nightclub gig, the tenor genius had to play for a floor show.

How times have changed, and I don’t know if it’s for the better. Cutting shows, as it used to be called, was a marvelous learning experience for all players. Presumably, that just no longer applies today.

The following list does not claim to be complete, only representative of some real showbiz greats and near-greats who you never would think of as on the same bandstand–or in the same radio studio– as Buddy Rich.

These were before the days when another drummer was brought in to play for the “name.” In those days, Buddy played for one and all.

Unless otherwise noted, the following are Tommy Dorsey radio broadcasts featuring Buddy Rich at the drums:

WIth Red Skelton in the film “Ship Ahoy”: 12/41
With Dinah Shore:9/29/42
With Spike Jones: 9/29/42
With Lucille Ball: 11/42 and 9/10/45, the latter in the film “Dubarry Was a Lady.”
With Gene Kelly: As above.
With Bing Crosby: 6/18/44
With Gracie Fields: 9/25/44
With Rudy Vallee: 7/10/44
With Al Jolson: 7/23/44
With Jose Iturbi: 7/30/44
With Sophie Tucker: 8/6/44
WIth Phil Harris: 8/20/44
With Martha Raye: 9/10/44
WIth Eddie Cantor: 9/24/44
With DIck Powell: 10/8/44
With Paulette Goddard: 6/24/45
Janet Blair: 7/22/45
Shirley Booth: 9/2/45

Buddy Rich backed the following on the “Stage Show” television program that featured the Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra:

With Johnnie Ray: 1/1/55
With Duke Ellington: As above
With Patti Page: 1/8/55
WIth Kate Smith: 3/12/55
WIth the McGuire Sisters: As above

On Eddie Condon’s “Floor Show” TV series:
With Sidney Bechet: 3/19/49

More trivia:
The history books have always read that Buddy Rich’s “bass drum experiment” was a “one time only” situation which took place at the Paramount Theater on February 22, 1949, when the Rich crew was on the bill with Mel Torme’. In fact, Buddy reprised his two bass drum feature on the Condon television program two more times: Playing “Old Man River” as he did at the Paramount on March 3, 1949; and on the tune “Heat Wave” on April 2, 1949.

And finally, though many, would-be future jazz greats got their starts in Buddy’s big bands from 1966 through 1986, perhaps none became a bigger star than trumpter Chris Botti, who sat in the Rich trumpet section from December of 1984 through March of the following year.

I look forward to receiving your questions, comments and additions to this list.


Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Perhaps Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich and Ringo Starr were more famous, but no drummer in music history was more visible than Ed Shaughnessy. With rare exception, he appeared on network television five nights per week for an astounding 29 years, as the drummer in the big band led by Carl “Doc” Severinsen for “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.”

In his new autobiography, “Lucky Drummer: From NYC Jazz to Johnny Carson,” written with Robyn Flans, Shaugnessy tells of his decades with Doc, the jazz years that led up to that fabled gig, of the stars of jazz and jazz drumming with whom he’s worked, and of a personal life that, in some cases, just wasn’t easy.

The book, like its author, is a charmer. “Lucky Drummer” is touching, funny, informative and educational, honest though not brutally so, and at times heartbreaking. “Lucky Drummer” also serves as a guidebook for anyone who plays, or has wanted to play, drums professionally.

Though he claims he wasn’t really a percussion innovator or ground-breaker, the fact is, the pre-“Tonight Show” Shaughnessy backed some of the most progressive players in jazz. Those included vibist Teddy Charles, the larger-than-life bassist/composer Charles Mingus, tenor saxophonist-turned-Miles Davis-producer Teo Macero, odd time signature master Don Ellis, sitar player Ravi Shankar and tabla artist Alla Rakha, and the entire Marsalis Family.

On the more traditional end of the spectrum, the author played and recorded with Basie, Ellington, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, JImmy Smith, Quincy Jones, Billie Holiday and dozens of others. What a resume! The names on these lists, by the way, do not include the hundreds of players and singers he accompanied during his tenure on “The Tonight Show.”

Those in the the business, as well as the hundreds of students he’s taught and mentored, can attest that, along with his friend Louie Bellson, Ed Shaughnessy remains one of the nicest people out there, in any field.

Naturally, he shares plenty of stories about “the cats.” And he could have easily been negative about several of them, but as always, he’s taken the high road. His yarns about Anita O’Day, Buddy Rich, Benny Goodman, Jimi Hendrix, Mingus and Miles are often hilarious. The author could have been a lot more harsh when writing about how he was treated by a nasty Ray Charles. As is his wont, Shaughnessy goes relatively easy on “the genius.”

Especially gratifying is the space he gives to saxophonist/bandleader Charlie Ventura, Shaughnessy’s first “big name” employer. Ventura, almost forgotten now, was one of the biggest stars in jazz from the mid-1940s through the latter 1950s. This is the first book that deservedly addresses Ventura’s talents and contributions.

As of this writing, Ed Shaughnessy is 83 years old and is still out there playing, and playing very well. And after all these years, as he says, “The door is open, any time you see me and would like to talk. I’ve always been that way, and I will always be that way. I really love to talk with–and help, if I can–any younger musicians who come my way. I never forget that everybody did it for me.”

Due credit must be given Rob Cook of Rebeats for publishing an essential, must-read work.


Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Drummers of a certain age have their lists of undiscovered, video “holy grails,” which usually include Buddy Rich playing two bass drums at the Paramount Theater in 1949, Gene Krupa’s performance with the Benny Goodman band at Carnegie Hall in 1938, and the Buddy Rich/Gene Krupa drum battle at Jazz at the Philharmonic in 1952.

While these legendary moments have long been available on audio, no filmed images have surfaced, save for some newsreel footage of the Goodman band shot at Carnegie Hall during the actual concert.

These days, however, more and more “never thought to have existed” pieces of video have come to light, so it’s entirely possible that Buddy’s two bass drum bit and the Krupa/Rich duel may be out there somewhere. It is very, very doubtful that any more footage of the 1938 Carnegie Hall concert exists.

There are two meetings of Gene and Buddy on film–from television shows broadcast in 1966 and 1971–but the “original drum battle,” which first took place at Carnegie Hall on September 13, 1952, is considered to be “the real thing.”

In the course of researching a recently published piece on the two great drummers for Jazz Times magazine, and an essay on Gene and Buddy prepared in conjunction for a reissue of some of their material, some very curious pieces of information have come to light.

This info may perhaps lead the way to discovering another Krupa/Rich pairing, whether on film or audio.

“The Original Drum Battle, as it came to be known, took place at the kick off of what was the 12th National Tour of Norman Granz’ Jazz at the Philharmonic. Most of the JATP dates had early and late shows, and Granz, as was his wont in those days, likely recorded them all.

In fact, Billie Holiday actually appeared as a guest star during the early show, singing “Lover Man.” Some 57 years after this happened, a professional recording of it has just come to light. Certainly, there was another drum battle in performed that evening, and at JATP dates in Long Beach, CA and Hawaii, where Krupa and Rich were on the bill.

There’s another possibility: The January, 1953, opening of Broadway’s newest jazz club of the time, the Bandbox, was quite the gala, with a bill that included the trios of Krupa, Buddy Rich, and according to some reports, the Oscar Peterson Trio as well.

Since the demise of his big band in 1951, Krupa re-formed his famed Jazz Trio with pianist Teddy Napoleon and saxophonist Charlie Ventura. It proved to be quite the attraction, and Krupa traveled regularly with that unit when not on a JATP tour. And yes, Gene played without a bass until English bassist John Drew joined Krupa in 1954 at the insistance of Eddie Shu, making the trio into a quartet.

For whatever reason, Buddy Rich was using the same, bass-less format around 1953, with additional trio members being pianist Hank Jones, who sometimes doubled on organ; and star JATP tenor man Flip Phillips. This unit recorded for Granz’ Clef label in December of 1952, and a month earlier, with pianist Lou Levy in for Hank Jones, “The JATP Trio,” as it was called, worked a week at a Denver Club called Rossonian’s.

Was Buddy Rich one-third of a tenor/piano/drums trio without a bass because of the popularity of Gene’s bass-less trio? Or was it a matter of economics? Or at the Bandbox, maybe a simple matter of space? Who knows?

What we do know is that both units broadcast regularly from the club, and that two of these broadcasts were issued on obscure record labels. The Japanese Ozone label released the Krupa set (with pianist Teddy Napoleon identified as his brother Marty on the album’s cover), and the Joyce Music company released something called “One Night Stand with the Flip Phillips/Buddy Rich Trio.” Charlie Shavers, part of the recent JATP tour, was on hand to sit in on “Bugle Call Rag.”

Rich spent a good time at the Bandbox after this date, playing with his own group and sitting in with other acts on the bill like Harry James. Indeed, as a result of the James/Rich get together at the club in March of 1953, Buddy joined the James big band. He would be in and out of the James group until Rich formed his own unit in 1966.

As for Krupa, life after the Bandbox was pretty much the same as it was before, which included regular tours with JATP, recordings in various combinations for Norman Granz, and many gigs in the JATP off-season with a trio that by then included multi-instrumentalist Eddie Shu.

Although there is no recorded documentation on hand thus far, there is evidence that Buddy and Gene continued their battles from time to time through 1957. At joint, 1956 radio interview with the Voice of America’s Willis J. Conover, the two drummers spoke of how they felt about the battles, as well as an upcoming JATP show where they were both set to appear.

On November 1, 1956, they went into the studio with a group of JATP All-Stars, recording an LP called “Krupa and Rich.” Strangely, Gene and Buddy only play together on one tune, with the rest of the tracks featuring one drummer or the other.

Their last in-studio meeting did not come off as well as they could have, and was also something of an oddity, recording-wise. In the 1962 LP, “Burnin’ Beat,” Rich and Krupa were not actually in the studio together. Rich dubbed his parts in, a situation clearly heard in two, unreleased tracks, “Flyin’ Home” and “Wham.” It’s a shame these two greats didn’t take an occasion like this more seriously.b

Sammy Davis, Jr. played host to the mighty two on a 1966 broadcast of his ABC television program. Sadly, Gene was clearly not well that night. Buddy Rich took that opportunity to wipe the floor with him.

The last, on-camera meeting that we know of took place on Oceober 12, 1971. The occasion was a Canadian television special hosted by Lionel Hampton. Buddy Rich came out at the very end of the program to participate in a four-way drum duel featuring Hamp, Krupa, Rich and Mel Torme’. Gene Krupa came off very well in his brief exchanges.

WIth the death of Gene Krupa in 1973 and Buddy Rich in 1987, the battles were over forever.


Saturday, April 4th, 2009

You don’t hear much about comic Jackie Gleason anymore, unless it has to do with his involvement in ground-breaking sitcom, “The Honeymooners.” Then again, the names of Jack Benny and Bob Hope are rarely heard these days, and if it weren’t for the aggressive marketing of the “Best of Carson” DVDs, Johnny Carson would be pretty well forgotten as well.

Gleason, however, was the only one who had a connection to jazz, and it was a reasonably substantial one.

“The Great One,” as he was christened by Orson Welles after a long night on the town, had many talents and it was long a part of Hollywood folklore that he was a world-class composer and conductor. Several of Gleason’s biographers did set the record straight by saying that Gleason had not a whit of professional musicianship, though they did stress he was an enthusiastic fan and had a good idea of what would sell. His 43, best-selling albums of string-laden mood music for Capital Records were and are textbook examples..

Always a lover of the big bands, and frustrated by what he perceived to be their lack of proper presentation on television, Gleason first produced something called “America’s Greatest Bands,” hosted by Paul Whiteman in the summer of 1955. Guests included Basie, Ellington, Percy Faith, Ralph Flanagan, Gene Krupa and the host himself. It didn’t last, and unfortunately, video or audio of the series has yet to be discovered.

The same year, Gleason produced the summer replacement program, “Stage Show,” that starred the recently-reunited Dorsey Brothers, who played host for two seasons to some noteworthy guests. Those guests included Sarah Vaughan and Duke Ellington, and drummers in the Dorsey band were Louie Bellson and Buddy Rich. Oh, yes, a guy named Presley made his first television appearances on “Stage Show,” not the “Ed Sullivan Show.” As for the Dorsey’s, and it’s said that Gleason was actually behind the reconciliation, the tube exposure gave their band a much-needed shot in the arm and helped land them lucrative and steady engagements in the New York area and nationally. Had Tommy not died in 1956 and Jimmy a year later, the band could have lasted at least another 20 years.

The true story of Jackie Gleason’s mood music enterprise was another story. He certainly saw the market for “creating romance via the hi-fi,” but as the story goes, the original demos were awful and no record company was interested in the idea. Gleason financed all the sessions himself, and wouldn’t stop until he got what he wanted, in terms of sound. In the beginning, that sound featured Bobby Hackett playing cornet against a big bank of strings. Capital eventually picked up the franchise, and though the details of Gleason’s deal with Capital hasn’t been revealed, the comic was a hard bargainer throughout his career, and I am certain that he retained some, if not all, ownership of the masters. Remember, too, that Gleason owned “Stage Show,” owned “America’s Greatest Bands,” and owned “The Honeymooners.” His deal with the gentle Bobby Hackett was said to be akin to indentured servitude. Again, this isn’t fact, but it has been reported that the cornetist not only received average, flat cash fees for his participation, but that he signed a “non-compete” clause that specified that he could not record in similar contexts under his own name. Ample evidence of this are the two mood music albums he made for Columbia Records in 1960, where the mood is set–not by strings–but by a pipe organ!

Over the years, and the mood LPs were issued until 1969, Gleason used a number of jazz players as soloists, including Toots Mondello, Roy Eldridge, Charlie Ventura, Buddy Morrow, Pee Wee Erwin, Bernie Leighton, arrangers Billy May, Pete King and George Williams; and sidemen such as Milt Hinton and Jimmy Crawford. The Gleason recordings are probably the only ones of their kind to remain continuously in print.

The jazz side of Jackie showed up again in 1959, when he hosted the forth and final “Timex All-Star Jazz Show,” subtitled “The Golden Age of Jazz.” Those of you who’ve obtained this title from are aware of the array and level of talent on this program, which is highlighted by the only existing film footage of Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie performing together. “The Golden Age of Jazz” accurately shows Gleason as the enthusiastic, breathless jazz fan that he was. It also appears he may have been partying it up a bit before broadcast, which was not unlike Gleason.

Eight years later, “The Great One” was still riding pretty high on CBS television as the host of the “American Scene Magazine” variety hour. The summer replacement show for “American Scene Magazine” was something called “Away We Go” (Gleason’s comedic catch line), starring none other than Buddy Greco, George Carlin and the brand new Buddy Rich band. It is not known whether Gleason owned “Away We Go,” but he had enough clout at CBS to strongly suggest they use Buddy and the big band.

Jackie and jazz? Who would have thought? Whatever stories you may have heard about the temperament of “The Great One,” he was one of the few high level celebs in show business to do something for the music and the musicians he loved. — Bruce Klauber


Monday, June 16th, 2008

For various reasons, I am making my invaluable Buddy Rich collection of VHS tapes and DVDs available for very quick sale. These are not copies or duplicates, nor are they being sold on ebay or any other web site. They were purchased at great expense some years ago, and the time has come to move on. Please contact me directly at and/or 215-620-5227. Serious inquiries only. Here is a rundown of what is available:



These DVDs were recorded directly from VHS tapes purchased from the Cavett offices, cut from their masters, which no longer exist. These are the entire 90-minute programs with Buddy playing and talking, in great, great quality.

One hour tribute to Buddy Rich, starring Buddy Rich and his entire big band, along with musical / showbiz associates Redd Foxx, Mel Torme’, Henny Youngman, and veteran dancer Jack Ackerman. This was taped directly from the television broadcast–which has never been re-broadcast, by the way–via Betamax in 1979. Buddy talks about his career, sings, dances and plays. This is a gem. The Griffin vaults do not have material that goes back this far.

One of the rarest clips of Buddy in the universe, this is in black and white with small time code at bottom of the screen. Surprisingly good quality, though not broadcast quality ala the Cavett, Griffin and other Carson shows.

All programs are complete, uncut, 90 minute, color programs, duplicated from the salt-mine-stored Carson masters. All were purchased directly from Carson Productions. Buddy Rich guests on all programs.
November 29, 1972
September 5, 1973
January 15, 1974
February 19, 1975
April 22, 1975
November 6, 1975
April 13, 1976
June 25, 1976
Note: One of these is a drum battle with Louis Bellson.


My sincerest thanks to all of you who have sent your prayers and good wishes in line with my recent diagnosis of malignant melanoma. The good news is that I am doing just fine, and that what I had was and is the most superficial form of this condition. I am healing well here in Naples, FL, though I do face a period of reconstruction and/or plastic surgery. It’s a shame I’m selling all the Buddy Rich material. I’m starting to look like him.


Staten Island’s one and only Robert Bierman was collecting and making a data base of Krupa materials long before a lot of us were around. He continues to be kind and generous with his stellar collection and has just shared a wonderful grouping of film clips that we’re calling “Book Revue and More.” “Book Revue,” of course, is the famed, 1940s, Warner Bros. cartoon that is highlighted by animated representations of Goodman, James, Sinatra, Krupa and many more. It’s here in its entirety and in full color. Also on the reel are very rare excerpts from the “World of Benny Goodman” TV documentary of the early 1960s with comments from Gene and various others, extensive interviews with Louis Bellson and Lionel Hampton prior to their participation in the Krupa tribute performance at The Felt Forum in 1974, a Gene Krupa Story trailer in mint condition, trailers for “Ball of Fire,” “The Gang’s All Here,” “Girl Crazy” and much, much more. This is a must-have.


You may notice that the web site has undergone more changes. Our goal is to make the site as easy to use as possible, while presenting the most accurate information about new and old product, as well as providing a forum for your suggestions and opinions. Let us know what you think.

Until then, keep swingin’
Bruce Klauber
June, 1008

Jazz Column: May 2008

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

The International Association of Jazz Educators, the voice of jazz education in more than 42 countries since 1968, has declared bankruptcy. With over 10,000 members, a thriving annual convention, plenty of local chapters and a number of still-impressive publications, this news was shocking.

The term I’m hearing used most often by those in IAJE is “blind sided,” meaning that even many close to the organization did not realize that massive amount of debt amassed. There are, of course, allegations of IAJE Board mismanagement and other accusations and instances of finger-pointing. Those things go with any Chapter Seven territory.

I have little knowledge of the IAJE management skills past and present. I resigned as an active member a few years ago, as I became frustrated and insulted by the fact that IAJE never mentioned word one about any of our videos, books, DVDs, CDs, or anything else, for that matter

Perhaps this was a part of their problem. It seemed to me that IAJE had the same advertisers, sponsors and supporters year after year after year, and nothing was seemingly ever done to court newer companies, which would include outfits like Hudson Music, Alfred Publishing, EJazzLines, and yes, IAJE chose to believe we just didn’t exist.

Then there is the issue of just how many music-themed conferences can be supported annually, as a big part of the IAJE revenue picture was its big, annual get-together. There are two NAMM (Music Merchandiser) confabs, the Frankfurt Music Fair, the Percussive Arts Convention, and Lord knows what else during the course of 12 months. Just how many of these can be viable in today’s economy? Jazz Improv Magazine has also entered the fray with a convention, and they reportedly did very, very well with it this year in New York city. There is even talk that Jazz Improv may take up some of the IAJE slack in terms of publishing and a convention. Just how that would work or if it would work are questions.

Jazz Improv, as everyone in the industry knows, is almost totally advertising driven, meaning that anything mentioned editorially, by and large, is directly connected to paid ads. This concept has been a mainstay of weekly “shopper”-type newspapers across the country for years. The fact that it’s being applied to jazz, presumably successfully at that, really says something for the publisher. Editorially, though, outside of a column or two, the publication is barely readable, rife with inaccuracies and laughably amateurish.

Everything, seemingly, is for sale at Jazz Improv. Can you imagine a large and lengthy issue devoted to Buddy Rich without even mentioning any of the Buddy Rich DVDs on the market…including the only official DVD of his life story? The point is, if a publication has little or no credibility, how seriously can any of its endeavors be taken?


The coming months are going to revitalize and revolutionize the worldwide percussion community. Both Hudson Music and Drum Workshop are launching two, separate, 24-hour, internet drum channels. Hudson’s is DW’s is Exact details will not be forthcoming until the formal launching of these projects–Hudson’s is set to start in June–but both will feature interviews, lessons, blogs, vintage and contemporary clips, interactive features, etc.

With DW, I will be involved in producing some of their impressive, stand alone DVD product, including the commercial release of the Gene Krupa/Dukes of Dixieland project “Championship Jazz” coupled with the famed Harry James/Buddy Rich outing from Chicago in 1965. I am also looking forward to writing narration for a most significant DW discovery, that being the “thought to be long lost” television specials filmed by Buddy Rich in 1982. Filmed live at the Statler Hiton Hotel in New York city in February of 1982, these three, never-aired television specials featured BR and the band, along with guests such as Anita O’Day, Lionel Hampton, Mel Torme’, Ray Charles, Stan Getz, Woody Herman and Cathy Rich. Throught the years, especially when I was heavilly involved in Buddy Rich material, someone came to me almost every six months with the claim that they had these tapes. They never did. Leave it to Don Lombardi at DW. He’s got them.

By way of, I will be contributing weekly blogs, clips, commentary, etc., most of the vintage variety. I am looking forward to truly having an international forum, much like I do in this space, that will grant exposure to the unsung giants of the drums–new and old–as well as rare material of those we know and love.

These internet drum channels are coming at a good time. WIth sites like YouTube and MySpace running rampant with unauthorized and unorganized material, anyone interested in percussion or drum history can now log on to or to find out absolutely everything they wanted to know about drums…all in one (rather, two) places.



Our German colleague, Arthor Von Blomberg, has reported that several appearances by his Krupa orchestra did very, very well at some dates in London, including the prestigious Ronnie Scott’s club. Arthor is still angling for some U.S. festival dates…

Though we haven’t yet seen it, bassist Milt Hinton’s new book, chock full of his great photos, of course, is now on the market…

On the maket is a new CD by Naples, Florida’s finest–a guy you’ve read about in this space many times–trumpeter Bob Zottola. In two words? “Buy it.” For more info, log on to Bob’s great site at, where you can also sign up for his great newsletter that lets fans know everything happening, jazz-wise, in Naples…

More Krupa discoveries are on the way, courtesy, once again, of the hard work of our man in Las Vegas, Paul Testa. All we can say at this juncture is that part of this DVD will feature every network obituary ever aired about Gene’s death…

If those of you who run into me personally within the coming weeks seem to think I look like Claude Rains in “The Invisible Man” (all bandages), don’t think I’m auditioning for a film part. On May 5th, two days after my birthday, I had a “larger-than-a-silver-dollar” sized malignant melonoma removed from under my right eye. It was caught–all of it–very early in quite in time, but do to the size involved, a number of skin grafts had to be performed. This will take some time, but the experts who know about such things claim I’ll be looking just like Frank Jr. again in no time at all. Guess my days of using no sunscreen are over…

Drummers, by nature, are not political animals, maybe because most of them are just animals. I’m no different, but I will answer finally answer the question that all wanted to know, in line with who I’m endorsing for president. Answer: I was, am and always will be a confirmed supporter of Harold Stassen.

Keep swingin and God bless,

Bruce Klauber
May, 2008 visitors may have heard this story before, but it bears re-telling:

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008 visitors may have heard this story before, but it bears re-telling:

Some seasons ago, we pulled the famed “The Drums By Jones” CD from our list of available products. Hudson Music and I had been in negotiations with the original producers of the project to issue it worldwide in a deluxe edition. Sadly, the folks who claimed to have the rights to the material were asking for more money for the rights than we would have recouped in a lifetime, so the deal fell through.

Shortly after, we received a strongly-worded document from those who said they were legally representing the owners of the material. We were asked, among other things, and in no uncertain terms, to remove “The Drums By Jo Jones” from our website. We did.

Since that time, we have heard absolutely nothing about what was supposed to be planned as a deluxe–there’s that word again–two CD set with booklet, unreleased photographs, and more. Try as we might, we cannot find any existence of this by the company who said they were releasing it (there is an English outfit by the name of Carter International who may or not be offering this, but we have little or no information about the company or the product).

In our quest to make these essential pieces of history available to our visitors, we are again offering “The Drums By Jo Jones” on CD…until we are told to do otherwise. It is essential and a must-have.

Presumably, everyone has already noticed that we have the entire 1948 film, “Smart Politics” available. Thanks to Robert Bierman to letting us offer this gem that features Gene and the crew in “Young Man with a Beat,” sung by the inimitable Freddie Stewart.


Look for two, upcoming magazine features of interest–I hope–by yours truly. One, in the next issue of the eagerly-awaited “Traps” magazine is a piece of major-league length on the history of the drum battles, complete with some graphics that you probably have never seen. We are told that this should be on the news stands on or about April 21st. This, as far as can be determined, is the only feature piece dedicated to the guilty pleasure of percussionists near and far, the drum battle. For subscription info, log onto

“Classic Drummer Magazine” bills itself as “the fastest growing drum magazine on the planet.” It may be, and since their inception, they have devoted themselves to covering players and subjects that the other publications don’t. As just one example, they have recently done a feature on the one and only Donny Osborne, perhaps the only real “Buddy Rich protege who ever existed. I was interviewed recently and extensively about my participation in the “Classic Rock Drum Solos” DVD. Writer Bob Girouard was incredibly knowledgeable about the DVD, about my work, and about the world of rare and vintage film in general, and that’s rare. For more info on this fine publication and for details on how to subscribe, visit


Even those of you who know me personally may not be aware that I’ve been a fan of Frank Sinatra, Jr. since 1967, when I first became aware that there was a Frank Sinatra, Jr. Those who continually try to compare Frankie to anyone are in the wrong ballpark. The fact is, Frankie is out there with a crack, 20-piece orchestra, singing songs and presenting orchestrations that are timeless. I had the great opportunity to interview Frank Sinatra, Jr.–and later review the show–for the “Naples Daily News” (a Scripps-Howard publication). We are reprinting it in its entirety and urge everyone to see Frank, Jr.’s show whenever he’s booked in your area.



Frank Sinatra Jr. could have taken the easy way out and chosen not to sing for a living.
But comparisons to his illustrious father have never stood in the way of his passion for the music of America’s finest composers and orchestrators and his quest to have it heard.
Singing the 45 years before youngsters like Harry Connick and Michael Bublé offered their take on his father, Sinatra Jr. has worked harder than most to carve out a solid career as a vocalist, bandleader, conductor, composer and actor.

(Sinatra played the Philharmonic Center for the Arts on Monday, March 31).
No, there haven’t been any hit records, television or stage shows, but he works quite a bit, even though his “Sinatra Sings Sinatra” show is an expensive one to mount.
Frank Sinatra, Jr., born in 1944, is the middle child of of three and the only boy. Nancy was in the limelight as a hit-making recording artist and film star, “ and Tina did well as a film producer and managing products with the Sinatra name. The younger Sinatra is the only sibling who maintains a constant stage presence. He was married for a while, is single now. A son, Mike, from another relationship, is a student at University of Califorina.

The music seemed to consume him from an early age.

“When I started as a kid I wanted to be a piano player and a songwriter, “ he told Will Haygood of the Washington Post. “I only became a singer by accident. I was in college, playing in a little band. The lead singer got tanked one night. A guy in the band pointed at me and said, ‘You sing.’ I said, ‘Me? Why me?’ He said, ‘You’re a Sinatra aren’t you? Sing!’”
As for his father, he also told the Post, “He was unreachable. He was traveling, or off making some movie. When I began in this business, with Sam Donahue’s band in 1963, “it was only on rare occasions when we saw each other.”

That would change decades later.

It’s taken years, though, for Sinatra to finally be satisfied with the sound of his own voice, he said in a phone interview
“I have become a better singer,” he said, “in the sense that I have gotten closer to the sound that I always wanted to hear my voice make inside my head. … I am now so much more comfortable working. It’s taken a lot of years for me to finally arrive at that attitude, vocally.”

The younger Sinatra studied his father’s style carefully through the years and when and if he wants to, he can sound eerily and uncannily like his dad. A good example of this can be heard on the 1996 album “As I Remember It,” a heartfelt musical and spoken tribute to Frank Sinatra.
“Yes,” he says a bit reluctantly, “that was a good record.”

That recording and his “Sinatra Sings Sinatra” program, where he sings many of the songs made famous by his father, stand as the exceptions through the years. After his father’s death, he says, “the audience wants me to sing those songs.”

Frank Jr. has long had his own eclectic repertoire (some recorded for his recent Reprise release, “That Face”), which dates back to one of his first studio efforts, “Spice.” The title song and a dark number called “Black Night” were written by the younger Sinatra.

“Nelson Riddle knew exactly what he wanted to do with the song ‘Black Night,’ ” Sinatra explained. “On the night that was recorded, that was March 29, 1971 — it was my first album with Nelson Riddle — something very, very difficult happened. We were in the recording studio here in Los Angeles, and Sinatra came walking in, because he heard I was recording that night. He came into the studio that night and he sat there and said, ‘What an arrangement!’ Nelson just blew him away. It was a very exciting evening.”

As hard as it may sometimes have been for the singer to carve out a niche for himself as a performer on his own terms, there have been many, many moments through the decades that he fondly remembers.
“I was the opening act in Vegas for three years for comic Phil Harris and the legendary bandleader trumpeter Harry James,” said Sinatra. “Phil Harris was one of the funniest people I ever knew. He could do more with less than anyone. He was incredible, the consummate stage performer who was also one hell of a musician. He was just brilliant.” (Contemporary audiences will know Harris as the voice of Baloo in the 1967 Walt Disney film, “The Jungle Book.”)

A thoroughly studied musician, Sinatra continues to be fascinated by the orchestrations — many featured in the “Sinatra Sings Sinatra” program — that made the music of Frank Sinatra timeless.
How is it that those arrangements — by craftsmen like Riddle, Gordon Jenkins, Billy May, Don Costa, Billy Byers and the rest — sound as if they were written yesterday?
Sinatra’s explanation is that “they knew how to orchestrate. They knew how to make best use of the musical instruments. They knew how to write counterpoint in music. They knew how to make the instruments sound as they wanted them to sound.”

Listeners at the Phil will hear many of these songs and arrangements as the arrangers wanted them to sound, played by a 20-piece orchestra under the direction of Terry Woodson. And this orchestra is as fine as any group of its kind, past or present.

In 1988, while leading, conducting and singing with his own band at downtown Las Vegas’ Four Queens Casino and Hotel, Frank Sinatra Jr. received a telephone call that would put his years of study, listening, learning and performing to the ultimate test.

“I had been conducting for myself,” he explained. “And the reason why I had been doing that is because we were working on such a small stage that there was no room for a conductor. So I ended up conducting for myself. When Sinatra came in one night, he said, ‘My God, the kid conducts!’ In his eyes, all of a sudden I was Eugene Ormandy, you know what I mean?
“He called me in early 1988. I was in my hotel room in Atlantic City and I was discussing the show that we were doing with my trumpeter, Buddy Childers, and my drummer, Bob Chmel. The phone rang and my father was on the phone, which surprised me, and he said to me, ‘Why don’t you come out and conduct for me?’

“So when my friends revived me with the smelling salts, I said, ‘What in the world is going on?’ He said, ‘I need somebody to conduct for me.’ I said, ‘What’s the matter with the guy you’ve got?’ Then I had to hold the phone away because he was yelling. He said, ‘These people don’t have the slightest idea of what I’m doing!’ Then he said to me, ‘Maybe another singer would understand what a singer is trying to do.’ And that was a pretty revolutionary thing to do. You never go to a show to hear a singer and see that the show is being conducted by another singer.

“He brought me in, and I began to learn him. I knew the music. I had to learn him. I was with him the last seven years that he worked. It was a wonderful experience and I miss it like you can’t imagine. It was a learning experience, and it was probably the greatest compliment that he ever gave me. And he didn’t give out compliments easily.”

After his father’s death in 1998, Frank Sinatra Jr. again hit the road with his own band. And one of the key members of the band was the pianist and sometimes conductor of his father’s orchestra, Bill Miller.
Miller, best known for being the pianist on the elder Sinatra’s famed “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)” was the original lounge pianist at the Desert Inn in Las Vegas in 1951.

“My father was playing at the Desert Inn that year,” Sinatra recalled, “and I believe it was the first year that he ever played Las Vegas. “He met Bill Miller and loved his touch and the way he played. Bill Miller joined Sinatra in 1951. In 1951, I was seven. Bill would come to our home and rehearse with my father. I was taking piano lessons already, but I listened to a professional, and I tried to get the touch on the piano that Bill Miller had.
“As the years went by, whenever there was a Sinatra recording session and I could go to it, I would make it my business to be there and listen to the arrangements. But I would always find myself standing by the piano, listening to what Bill Miller was doing. Without knowing it, he was my teacher.

“Bill was with my father for almost 45 years. After my father died, Bill had been in retirement. In October of 1998, I went to Atlantic City to work and I was surprised to learn that the hotel who had booked us was the final hotel Sinatra performed in when he was still working. So I got an idea in my head.

“I told my people I wanted the big orchestra and that I was going to call Bill Miller to see I could convince him to come out of retirement. Bill Miller came to Atlantic City, and with very low, ethereal music playing, he was sneaked onto the stage and started to play his famous ‘One More For my Baby.’ And when the lights came up on him, people recognized him and they gasped.

“I was sitting there in the darkness, and the older I get, the more I look like Sinatra. When I was sitting there in a dark blue light, in my tuxedo, the resemblance was a little striking. The people were dead silent, and it really moved them, so much so, that they had tears in their eyes. Bill Miller worked with me until July, 2006, when he had a heart attack and died. He played right up until the end. His daughter came up to me after his death, telling me, ‘You gave my father another eight years of life.’ But Bill died never knowing what he taught me about music. I miss him every day.”

Of the new breed of singers who have followed in his father’s footsteps, Sinatra is “just glad they’re doing better music. That also goes for Rod Stewart and Michael Bolton, who are both friends of mine. The fact that they’re singing better music pleases me a great deal. They’re going to educate a generation.”

As for the future, Sinatra will continue to take work, when the gig is right, with nothing less than a full orchestra, playing the great songs and the great arrangements. There may be more film and television roles down the line per his guest spots on “The Sopranos,” and he has just completed a second appearance on “The Family Guy.”

Musically? In a 2001 essay entitled “Frank Sinatra is Alive and Well and Singing in Europe,” poet and Sinatra family friend Rod McKuen, hit the nail on the head when he commented, “Frank Sinatra Jr. is his own man, and while he’s proud to be ‘the keeper of the flame’ at this point in time, there is absolutely no doubt that he will be creating his own standards as a singer and writer in the near — not distant — future.” Or, as no less than the Washington Post put it in 2006, Frank Sinatra Jr. is “uniquely gifted in his own right.”


The following week, Tony Bennett was in town at the same venue, and he absolutely killed. The 82-year-old legend was onstage for an astounding 90 minutes and sounded better than he did 40 years ago. Special credit must be given to pianist Lee Musiker and drummer Harold Jones. Jones, playing a wonderfully sounding DW set of drums, demonstrated why he was, as Bennett said, “Count Basie’s favorite drummer.”


There should be, we hope, some major announcements on the DVD and CD fronts, in terms of getting things out commercially, properly and internationally. Stay tuned.


We are headed up north for a series of shows, but will return to Naples, FL in early June. Not only am I playing at least three nights down here, I am contributing regularly to The “Naples Daily News,” “Naples Sun Times” and “ETC.” I am in the fortunate position of covering the great jazz scene regularly…while getting to–literally–play a part in it as well.

God bless and keep swingin’

— Bruce Klauber, April, 2008.