THE KRUPA STICKS ARE COMING…FOR REAL!
At long last, Chris Bennett of the Bopworks drum stick company, the Gene Krupa Estate and yours truly are able to announce the pending availability of the first, officially sanctioned Krupa stick to hit the market since 1972. Those of you who follow this column and have asked about the sticks’ release are well aware of the time it’s taken to get this deal together. There were times, quite frankly, when Chris Bennett and I were about to throw in the towel, and it is a testament to his patience and dedication that this has finally happened. I can tell you that the stick is well worth waiting for. Bopworks puts out, in my estimation, the finest product on the market, and their Mel Lewis and Shelly Manne models are prime examples of the company’s integrity and dedication to quality and authenticity. JazzLegends.com expects to have the sticks available in the coming weeks, though the first ones to likely have them will be www.Bopworks.net and the retailers they currently service. It is my goal to, at some point, have the Krupa model stick available everywhere drum sticks are available, including mega retailers like Guitar Center, Sam Ash and maybe even Target, to say nothing of web giants like Musicians Friend, Interstate Music, etc. If any of the JazzLegends.com visitors and supporters are retailers–or know of one–get in touch with Chris Bennett directly at: Info@bopworks.net or visit the Bopworks web site. We may have mentioned that our good friend Michael Berkowitz, who leads the “New Gene Krupa Orchestra” (officially sanctioned by the Estate), is our first endorser, and it’s an honor to have him. There are none better and make sure you get his CDs. In many of the recreations I’ve heard through the years, either the band has been great and the drummer mediocre, or vice versa. In this case, both Berkowitz and the group are fabulous.
Because of our constant shuttling back and forth from Philadelphia to Florida, we are changing our mailing address in order to better serve our long-standing mail-order customers. Though the thought did occur to do away with mail order totally, it is certainly understandable that there are some supporters out there who would prefer not to order via the web and/or may not have web capability. The new mail-order address is: JazzLegends.com c/o Bruce Klauber, 450 Domino Lane #D-5, Philadelphia, PA 19128. Don’t forget to include the “D-5.” From time to time, we still get phone calls asking if we accept credit cards by telephone. No, credit card orders are strictly done on the web site with PayPal.
We are still discussing –with the greatest webmaster who ever webmastered –the possibility of making downloads available on some of our CDs and DVDs. I’m told that it’s quite an involved and possibly costly process, and we are thinking seriously about the pros and the cons. Bear in mind that such things would be available on a tune-by-tune basis for a cost of around $5.00, perhaps less. One idea that someone floated was to make “preview” downloads available, i.e., 30-to-50 second samples that would help a buyer decide what to buy. When JazzLegends.com first started back in the prehistoric days, we had Real Audio samples on the site, but there was really no way to track just how many folks took advantage of that feature. Feel free to mull this over in the Forum. JazzLegends.com will abide by your decision.
We are again urging you to support the Fresh Sound record label out of Barcelona. As the company who released our JATP in Hamburg package, Fresh Sound is doing things that absolutely no one else in the industry is doing. If this release does well, there is always the possibility that the company would release other JATP programs, with and without Gene. Remember that their product is available via WorldsRecords.com, Ejazzlines.com, and the Fresh Sound web site.
Also in the “urging” arena, we are constantly attempting to broaden our scope and our variety of selections. The name of the site, after all, is “Jazz Legends.” so we’re happy to have added artists like Count Basie, Gerry Mulligan, Ella Fitzgerald, Art Blakey, Coleman Hawkins, Boots Randolph, Kenny Clarke and many others during the past several months. Take advantage of what we have, and ask for the artists and/or CD or DVDs you seek. We’ll do our best to make them available. There is life beyond Gene!
We have reached the serious negotiating phase for the wide, commercial release of our “Jazz Legends on Television” DVD, a 90-minute, “best-of” compilation of the great, jazz-oriented TV specials of 1957 to 1962. Though we offer it on our site, this is one of those projects, like the JATP in Hamburg concert, that cries out for worldwide retail and international web release. For some reason, it’s been a tough sell, but something is up in the marketplace. The good folks at Jazz Icons did so well with their first spate of DVD releases, that a half-dozen more new discoveries are now set for release. These include titles by Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Dexter Gordon and something that we cannot wait to view: John Coltrane and Stan Getz in concert, together! Though these giants were poles apart stylistically, they did have a great, great deal of respect for each other. When a jazz writer once asked Trane his thoughts about Stan Getz, Coltrane replied, “Let’s face it…wouldn’t we all want to sound like Stan?”
Now in the final editing stage is the long-in-preparation “Classic Rock Drum Solos” DVD from Hudson Music. This has taken all of us over two years to put together, and we all eagerly anticipate the final result. Whatever your feeling about rock and rock drumming, there is no question that all of these players are technically astounding in their own way. Just to refresh your memory about the stellar line up of soloists, they include Louis Prima’s Jimmy Vincent, Louis Jordan’s Shadow Wilson, tributes to Lionel Hampton and Krupa, Bill Haley’s Ralph Jones, The Ventures’ Mel Taylor, Sandy Nelson, Ginger Baker, Carl Palmer, Ron Bushey, Ian Paice, Michael Shrieve, Clive Bunker, Carmine Appice (who also hosts) Cozy Powell, Don Brewer, Keith Moon, Neil Peart and Steve Smith. We only await permission from the family of John Bonham in order to complete this DVD. Watch this space and HudsonMusic.com for release dates.
Finally, Joy Adams joins me in thanking all of you who attended our recent show in the Philadelphia area. As they say in the vernacular, “the joint was mobbed,” and we hope to do something like this several times per year.
God bless and keep swingin… Bruce Klauber, July, 2007