Since the publication of our book in 1990, “World of Gene Krupa,” there has been an unparalleled resurgence in interest in the life and music of “that ace drummer man.” Thankfully, the marketplace is filled with CD reissues, videos and dvds on Gene and other great drummers in jazz history, web sites, books, posters, tee-shirts, and more than a few Krupa “sound-alike” drummers and tribute bands. Finally, the jazz history books have properly acknowledged Gene’s contribution to drums, drumming and to jazz.
Though he died at the rather young age of 64, in 1973, Gene had a long and glorious recording career that began in the late 1920s and continued right up until 1973. That’s six decades. Unfortunately, most of the better, commercially issued recordings have long been out-of-print. Aside from a couple of foreign and domestic reissues through the years, it appears that most of them will remain out-of-print. One of our goals at JazzLegends.com is to ensure that those old LPs from the 1950s and 1960s live on. We like to think we have fulfilled that part of our mission, via the transfer to CD of rarities like “Driving Gene,” “Hey Here’s Gene Krupa,” “Great New Quartet” and all the others.
There’s another significant part to what we do here: As jazz players and jazz fans know, often the best music is made outside of the recording studio. That’s why we’ve devoted so much time and energy to tracking down Gene’s radio and television appearances, live concerts and projects done for the overseas market. We strongly urge you to check out our newest discoveries, highlighted by something called “So Rare.” Even the folks here at JazzLegends.com can’t believe some of the tracks on this CD.
We apply same philosophy to our VHS videos. Gene’s films and film appearances were wonderfully entertaining. Sadly, they will likely never be released commercially and are rarely shown on television. We won’t let them disappear. Our “Raw Footage” tapes are a great complement to the full-length films, and offer glimpses of Gene in rehearsal, being interviewed, on television and in rare film shorts.
Please note that our pricing policy has changed, and is undoubtedly the most reasonable price structure in the business. Collectors have long been paying hundreds and thousands for material like this over the years. Our prices? All CDs and books are $15. All videos are $30. Shipping is free worldwide. That’s it.
In the news department, we have received word that “The Gene Krupa Story” will be released to DVD on or about May 18th. Don’t ask why, but there are no extras on the DVD. They could have come to us: The famed “Jammin’ With Gene” promo short with Sal Mineo is on our “Gene Krupa: Jazz Legend” video. The original theatrical trailer to “The Gene Krupa Story” is on our video “Classic Drum Solos and Drum Battles.” And we also have Gene’s appearance with Sal, promoting the film, on a 1958 “I’ve Got A Secret” tv show. In the not-too-distant future, perhaps we will put all these “promo” pieces on one video.
We’re also told that a CD reissue is on its way in the form of the great, “Gene Krupa Plays Gerry Mulligan Arrangements” recording. No word about alternate takes yet, though most of these reissues seem to be straight transfers of what was on the original LP. Note that whenever a title is issued commercially, we do take it out of our catalog.
As many of you know, by way of my longtime affiliation with Hudson Music, I’ve gotten the chance to work with drummer extraordinaire, Steve Smith, rather closely on a number of projects. I will tell you, unequivocally, that there is no better drummer than Steve out there, and that if he’s appearing in your neck of the woods with Buddies’ Buddies, Vital Information or in a clinic or master class, just go and see him. You will be astounded.
On a more personal basis, I will hopefully be doing some classes and a film presentation called “The History of Jazz Drumming on Film” in tandem with Steve–and solo–in the not-to-distant future. Check this space for details. By the way, Steve Smith, as well as Gene, Buddy and all of the past, present and future legends of jazz drumming (including yours truly!) use Zildjian Cymbals. They were, are and will always be “the only serious choice.”
We intend to use this space to let you know about updates, new products, and things we’re working on. And please tell us what you’re looking for and what you’d like to see. We’re here for you
Bruce H. Klauber, D., Mus.