Archive for the ‘DVDs’ Category

DVDS: Their time has come at

Sunday, March 20th, 2005

There’s a wonderful article in the March 20, 2005 edition of the Sunday “Philadelphia Inquirer,” written in the first person, about a man who went into a major electronics store in search of a boom box that played CDs and tapes. Surprise! Those units are not made anymore. While you can certainly get tape players, they are no longer being included as a part of portable units. Reason? The kids don’t want, buy or need tape anymore. 

This development, which is really nothing new, might someday apply to VHS video tape. Certainly, VHS will always be “around” — just like LP records — so those who have VHS tapes will always need something to play them on. However, in terms of motion pictures and all other commercial product that you see in your local Blockbuster, VHS has been phased out and is pretty much gone. 

DVDs? They take a while getting used to, especially for those who were born long before the digital revolution. In the case of, though, there are distinct advantages. VHS is a mechanical medium, and because it is, things can and do go wrong. Copying a VHS tape always means losing a generation of quality. Consider the terrible quality of some of those Buddy Rich tapes that have been floating around for so many years. That probably wouldn’t have happened if the dupes were made from a top quality DVD. And of course, they take up less space, you can get to the programs’ “good parts” instantly, and they don’t deteriorate in quality. Just don’t scratch them. 

Warner Bros./DCI Music video is now in the process of putting most of their catalog on DVD. “Buddy Rich: Jazz Legend” and “Gene Krupa Jazz Legend” are already on DVD, “Legends of Jazz Drumming” will be shortly, and in the DVD process are the famed, “Buddy Rich Memorial Scholarship” concerts. All Hudson Music product has long been on DVD. 

We don’t know the age of our supporters at nor are we aware of how these friends of ours feel about the new technology or DVD versus VHS. What we do know is that the time has come where we have to offer our line of videos on DVD. These will be in the DVD-R format, which we understand is the most playable format in this country. They will not, we are told, play on foreign systems. So for our international customers and for those who want to continue with the good, old VHS system, will will continue to carry all our titles on VHS as well. And we always will. Let us know how you feel about this, and start ordering!


Friday, March 11th, 2005

Through the years, we’ve gotten some interesting requests, including “the video” of the 1938 Benny Goodman Carnegie Hall Concert and “the video” of the 1952 “Gene versus Buddy” drum battle. But what people have asked for the most is more video of Buddy Rich on “The Tonight Show.” 

It is not totally common knowledge that for some years, Johnny Carson only owned “The Tonight Show” programs from 1980 on. It wasn’t until relatively recently that he made a deal with NBC, and that deal gave him sole ownership to every “Tonight Show” in existence. Although few programs exist on tape before 1969-1970, there’s plenty of absolutely prime Buddy Rich in the decade of the 1970s. We are in the process of offering some of it on 

Our association with Mr. Carson and his office was always wonderful. When it came to Buddy, the Carson people were quite generous. Johnny Carson, by the way, was my first choice of narrator for “Buddy Rich: Jazz Legend.” I almost had him, but he decided against it. 

Taking all this into account, the good folks at Hudson Music, and yours truly, recently came up with what we believed was one heck of an idea. The concept? Buddy Rich drum solos from “The Tonight Show.” No music, no talking (maybe just a little), just Buddy doing solo after solo after solo. That is why we watched him, wasn’t it? And with over 60 “Tonight Show” appearances, there would be no shortage of material. What a DVD this would make. 

I contacted the same folks I dealt with in the Carson office years ago. Way back when, they were great, open, generous and helpful. After Mr. Carson passed, however, these same folk “turned.” Like curdling milk. They suddenly told us that “absolutely none of this material” was available for licensing, especially after they heard our idea. 

Wow. None of it. And no reason given, except mention was made of the fact that “it’s a shame that much of this music will go unheard.” Not only is that a disgrace, but it’s bull. 

I believe that while Johnny Carson was alive, he saw to it that all of the available “Tonight Shows” would be preserved–and viewed–exactly as they were aired. I’m sure he didn’t want three decades of timeless material cut-up, ala “The Best of Motown on Ed Sullivan.” Well, I get the very strong sense that’s going to happen, which is the only possible reason I can think of to flat-out refuse us the opportunity to license Buddy Rich footage. 

I remember years back trying to make a deal for footage of Buddy with The Boston Pops. They wanted $60,000 for two minutes’ worth of film. I told them that no one had $60,000 and that my fear was that the film that existed would eventually turn to dust. I remember this gentlemen’s reply. “Yes, it will turn to dust,” he said. 

If you want to see this material–and it must be seen–I urge you to log on to and e-mail the folks in charge. All you have to say is “we want to see Buddy Rich.” I know I do. 

Bruce Klauber

Buddy’s Bop

Thursday, February 10th, 2005

Lest you believe that there are no drummers other than Gene Krupa, it is appropriate that we occasionally look at the artistry of other percussionists if only because some of them are featured on these pages. Buddy Rich has been a hero and an idol to many of us, regardless of our age or level of talent, and there’s a good reason for that. To these ears, Buddy Rich was, is and will always be the greatest drummer who ever lived. Like many of you, I saw him in person hundreds of times and probably have every record he ever recorded and almost every piece of video and film with his image on it. Technically, he was simply inhuman. More importantly, though, with rare exception, he swung like mad and drove and spurred on players to play way above themselves. And this happened in a wide, wide variety of circumstances, from his own big band to the Tatum/Hampton/Rich trios. 

Still, through the years, he wasn’t always the darling of critics. “Too loud,” “too heavy,” “no taste,” were some of the comments offered through the years by the music writers. One fellow went as far as to liken Buddy’s drumming to “a Las Vegas act.” Most of those opinions and quotations have been long forgotten. But there is one set of criticisms that won’t go away, and that concerns Buddy Rich’s participation in a legendary recording session. “Bird and Diz” was recorded on June 6, 1950 in New York city for Norman Granz’ Clef label, and featured a dream lineup of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk (the only time Monk ever recorded with Diz and Bird), bassist Curly Russell and Buddy on drums. 

Some of the comments about Rich’s drumming on this session ranged from the mild, with terms like “stylistically inappropriate,” to the downright mean. One writer accused Buddy of trying to “sabotage” the session, and another went a step further by saying Rich’s sounded like “a refugee from a drum and bugle corp” on this date. 

Now a compact disc with many, many alternate takes and false starts; “Bird and Diz” remains very much in print and continues to be reissued from time to time. This recording, in LP form, was among my absolute favorites through the years, and I’ve just pulled it out again for yet another careful listen. 

The truth of the matter is that, yes, maybe Roy Haynes, Max Roach or Stan Levey would have been more “stylistically appropriate” for this recording, but Buddy’s presence makes it so much more interesting. Leave it to Norman Granz to mix all the different styles and “see what comes out.” It’s a shame that’s not done more today. 

Buddy’s bop? It’s common knowledge that Buddy wasn’t thrilled with bop or bop drummers initially (Mel Torme’ said that Rich called them “fumferers”), but he dealt with his share of boppers in his own early bands, which included players like Alan Eager, Terry Gibbs and Johnny Mandel. Whether he liked it personally or not, he was certainly listening to bop, and it’s clear that the assimilated some of the language of it, at least those parts of it that he felt comfortable with and fit in with what he was doing. And in terms of being able to “hear” what was going on musically, however progressive it may have been at the time, it is important to remember that Buddy Rich could “hear” virtually anything. 

The fact is, Buddy Rich sounds great on “Bird and Diz.” Rhythmically grounded in the swing era though he may have been, he accompanies beautifully, is dynamically sensitive to Monk, and really inspires Dizzy. Buddy’s dropping some bass drum bombs here and there and his left hand, as always, interacts between his right foot for some very tasty independence. His breaks and solos are models of perfect time and of the Buddy Rich style, some of them even sounding closer to Gene than Buddy. Buddy, naturally, always had that bass drum going, and it that’s considered the swing style and stylistically inappropriate, so be it. I think it swings like mad, and to hear Buddy Rich on closed hi-hats, gently backing up Thelonious Monk is an example of why the best of jazz is, indeed, “the sound of surprise.” 

Rich’s drums were never that well recorded on his many 1950 Verve/Clef/Norgran dates, and his sound tended to vary from recording to recording. On “Bird and Diz,” the drum and cymbal sound isn’t great, which may have led some of these music writers to hear things they weren’t really hearing. Then, too, we must remember that this was 1950, long before the advent of high fidelity. Some of the problems, false starts and breakdowns on this recording were attributed to Rich. But listen carefully to what’s going on in the studio. Monk and Dizzy have their share of problems, and Curly Russell, though a good bassist who played on hundreds of bop sessions, is clearly no Charlie Mingus or Ray Brown in a rhythmic or tonal sense. If Buddy Rich exploded here and there on this record, I’d say it was because of frustration. And no, in 1950 he was not fully comfortable with the be-bop language, but he was getting there. Remember that be-bop drummer he met on record in 1959? And remember the outcome? 

Take a listen to “Bird and Diz” again. It’s as joyful as hearing Gene Krupa backing up Dizzy Gillespie, Red Norvo accompanying Charlie Parker, or Sonny Rollins meeting Coleman Hawkins in the recording studio. As for me, I’m now listening to Buddy Rich’s explosive four-bar breaks on take seven of “Leap Frog.”

Johnny Carson and Jazz

Tuesday, February 1st, 2005

The late and great Steve Allen, originator of the “Tonight Show” format, was well known as a jazz fan, friend to jazz musicians and a pretty decent jazz pianist. Few remember that Allen really went out on the television limb in the mid-fifties by booking folks like Billie Holiday, Lenny Bruce, Art Tatum, Charlie Parker and many others. 

Johnny Carson, who died Sunday at the age of 79, will be remembered as the quintessential talk show host, comic and interviewer, but Carson also continued Steve Allen’s legacy of using the power of television to further the cause of jazz. An amateur drummer since childhood, Carson was more than a fan. He supported the music and the musicians publicly and privately. 

As one rather spectacular example, it was Johnny Carson who helped jazz drummer Buddy Rich become a star again, at a time when a 50-year-old Buddy Rich and big bands were considered old hat. Carson opened up his program to Buddy and Buddy’s new big band, beginning around 1966, and helped garner an entire new audience of all ages for “Buddy Rich: caustic comic and world’s greatest drummer.” Rich always credited Johnny Carson for reviving his career, and as thanks, awarded Johnny with a brand new set of drums. Carson loved Buddy Rich as a person and worshipped him as a player. When I was in the midst, along with the Rich Estate, of writing and producing a video tribute to the great drummer, there was nothing Carson wouldn’t do for us. 

“The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” was, of course, an entertainment program. Hard core jazz fans, naturally, didn’t think it should be that way. Years ago, I vividly recall the jazz purists saying that Carson’s conception of jazz was Dixielanders Al Hirt and Pete Fountain, entertaining players who were booked frequently. But what my purist colleagues (yes, I was one) didn’t know, was that booked along side a Pete Fountain or Al Hirt would be someone like jazz singer Joe Williams (booked over 50 times), or Sarah Vaughan (booked over 20 times). 

The other argument, in line with television’s always-at-a-distance relationship to jazz, was that a program like Carson’s only booked the most “popular” jazz players, i.e., Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Louis Armstrong, etc. Where were the likes of the more creative players like Dizzy Gillespie, Max Roach, Miles Davis, Clark Terry, Freddie Hubbard and the Modern Jazz Quartet? For the record, let it be said that each and every one of these players made at least one “Tonight Show” appearance. Dizzy Gillespie was on at least a dozen times. Wynton Marsalis made his first television appearances at Johnny Carson’s insistence. You can look it up. Gene Krupa was on two times that we know of, and rumors continue to abound that Gene and Buddy actually had their famed drum battle on the “Tonight Show.” 

Carson’s show was the last to feature what was called a “big band” as the house orchestra, with jazz as its common language. While players like Carl “Doc” Severinson and Tommy Newsome played the stooge on camera, the record will show that they were and are top, jazz-oriented players who staffed “The Tonight Show” orchestra with the greatest jazz musicians who ever lived, from Ed Shaughnessy and Grady Tate to Pete Condoli and Ernie Watts. Whether they were backing a comic, a vocal duo or Buddy Rich, the always swung. They’re still on the road and still swinging under “Doc’s” leadership. 

I doubt whether Johnny Carson ever thought he would be credited with these considerable contributions. But the record speaks for itself, and the careers of many jazz people would be considerably less were it not for him. The jazz world will miss him. 

Postscript: After reading this article, arranger John LaBarbara commented, “Few people really knew how good a friend Johnny Carson was to jazz and to jazz musicians.” 

“Tonight Show” drummer Ed Shaughnessy took a copy of this piece to Doc Severinson, while they were both on a “Tonight Show” band gig in Spokane Washington on Thursday, January 27th. Shortly after, Doc and Ed got a call from the David Letterman people, saying they were flying Doc, Ed and Tommy Newsome out to New York city to participate in a tribute to Johnny Carson that aired on the Letterman program last everning, January 31st. 

This article is now appearing on the web site of the Berman Music Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the music and musicians of Nebraska, Johnny Carson’t birthplace; and it will also appear in the next issue of “Not So Modern Drummer” magazine. 

The piece was not written to gain attention, or publicity of any kind. Indeed, it was sent out privately to friends and colleagues in the music industry. I had no idea so many people felt the same way I did. 

Keep swingin’ 

Bruce Klauber

State of the Art Audio, 1953, or “How and Why we Burn”

Saturday, January 22nd, 2005

Most of the letters and emails we have received over the years thank us for making this material available. Many of those notes, by the way, have been sent to us by Gene’s friends, family and personal and professional associates. Nothing could make us happier. The goal of is, simply, to make this material available. 

On the other hand, since we’ve been at this, we have received about a good half-dozen complaints from customers who are not satisfied with the audio quality of some of our titles. “This sounds like it was taken from an LP record that is 50 years old,” read one e-mail. Well, in many cases, that’s because it was. 

This specifically applies to our “private edition/limited circulation” LP titles from the 1950s-1960s. We will be right behind you in line at Tower Records, or wherever, to purchase “Burnin’ Beat,” “Great New Quartet,” “The Gene Krupa Story” and the rest, when they are issued commercially released on Compact Disc, and are digitally remastered complete with alternate takes, unissued takes, etc. Until then, just in order to make this material available, we have transferred the original LPs to Compact Disc (in many cases along with additional material), with all the squeaks, pops and surface noise we know and love. Yes, it will sound like a 40-year-old LP. A lot of folks think that’s actually a pretty pleasant sound. 

Regarding the practice of remastering and digitizing, presumably most of you eagerly anticipated, like I did, the “Live at the Inn Club” CD with Gene, Eddie Shu, Dave McKenna and John Drew. This had been listed in Gene’s discography as a “stereo recording” for years, and all of us just couldn’t wait to hear it. What was done to it was a disgrace. It was digitized beyond any musical sensibility at all, which is when we decided to make our transfers without any digital interference. And again, those of you who expect 2005, state-of-the-art digitized sound should look elsewhere. 

Finally, whenever one or more of these titles become commercially available–“The Drum Battle” and “Krupa and Rich” for example–we remove it from our listings. Everyone who listens to Gene and appreciates his music is entitled to the best quality available. If we’re offering something at, though it may not be state-of-the-art, you can presume we list it because it comes from the best–or only–source material available. If we don’t offer it, that’s because there are better sources elsewhere…or like the “video of the 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert,” it just doesn’t exist. 

Keep swingin, 

Bruce Klauber


Monday, September 20th, 2004

Visitors to this site over the past several months have certainly noticed some changes. We know they are for the better. has never looked better, it approaches “state of the art” but in many ways remains simple to use. Our resident genius, Terry McKyton, is responsible for all the artistry on these pages. As The Stooges would have said, “He’s the best web designer whoever web designed.” I urge each and every one of you in the musical community to get in touch with Terry. He will, without doubt, take care of business in your behalf, no matter how simple or complex. 

New products and/or “discoveries” are being added regularly, not only by Gene Krupa, but from those associated with him through the years like Jo Jones, Charlie Ventura, Anita O’Day, Eddie Shu, and various others. We hope to expand in this area as time goes on with product by other drummers–look for some Cozy Cole soon–and other instrumentalists. Gene was a great, great talent scout. Let’s remember all those he started over the years, from Anita O’Day and Charlie Ventura to Bobby Scott and Dave Frishberg. At the same time, we’re always on the lookout for “rare finds” by Gene. 

A great example of this, and how difficult it can be to actually get something out to the marketplace, is something we’re currently working on. This discovery comes to us from the great drummer, great friend and researcher extraordinaire, Las Vegas’ own Paul Testa. Paul discovered the actual existence of an unaired television pilot from 1962, entitled “Championship Jazz.” Years ahead of its time in terms of “reality television,” the program planned to pit two jazz groups against each other, with the winner receiving a cash prize. This pilot, hosted by the Voice of America’s Willis Conover, featured–are you ready for this one?–The Dukes of Dixieland versus The Gene Krupa Quartet. Wow! Getting a copy of this “find,” isn’t that easy, however. In order to release a copy, the archive in which it is located requires written permission from the copyright holder, or, if it is not copyrighted, written proof from the Library of Congress that it was indeed never copyrighted. This is a time consuming, frustrating and expensive task from this end. Even though has done much on behalf of the Krupa Estate over the years, and even though we do have written permission and blessings of the good folks who own the “name” The Dukes of Dixieland, that is still not enough. We know about proper channels and respect them. Rest assured that this “Championship Jazz” program will see the light of day on this web site. 

In other news for the fall season, look for an upcoming Hudson Music release of a “Tribute to Steve Gadd” DVD. This tremendous program is not only a docu about Gadd’s life and many accomplishments, but a presentation of the live show that took place last September at the Berklee School in Boston, sponsored by Zildjian, with Bill Cosby, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Vinnie Coliuta, David Sanborn, and many, many more. I am proud to have been associated with this remarkable drummer and what I know is a remarkable production. That evening was an unforgettable one, and getting to “hang” with Louis Bellson, Steve Smith, Freddie Gruber, and especially Elvin Jones, was an evening I’ll cherish forever. Elvin Jones will be missed by all of us. In the course of musical history, few artists could be called true innovators. Elvin could. One of our great sponsors, Drum Radio, has a wonderful Elvin Tribute on the web site. Please tune in. 

Also in the works is a Hudson Music “Tribute to Lionel Hampton” DVD, to be narrated by vibist Mike Mainieri and the “world’s greatest drummer,” Steve Smith. Fortunately for us, there’s a lot of great Hampton footage out there, and we will be able to present film from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and yes, the 1990s. We look forward to working with Mike Mainieri on this project. Mike, of course, was the vibist with Buddy Rich’s great small group of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Though he virtually pioneered what we now know as “fusion,” Mike could outswing just about anyone when he wanted to. 

Those of our supporters who have chosen to order with their credit card on the web by using PayPal, have noticed that the system has finally become very, very simple to use. No one has to join PayPal or sign up for anything in order to buy products with your credit card. Safety? In five years of using this system, has never, ever had a problem. 

Please let us know what you’d like to see on this site in terms of products you’re looking for, suggestions for ease of use, or any thing else you may have on your mind. Contacting us via e-mail is easy and we respond to each and every question or comment. Note that if you don’t see a certain CD or video by Gene, Buddy or someone else on the web site, that doesn’t mean we don’t have it. Chances are we do. Just ask. 

Bruce Klauber


Monday, April 12th, 2004

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 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 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.