Burning For Buddy
Volume 1 & 2
CD:Atlantic 82699-2 (Volume 1)
Back in 1994 none other than famous rock drummer Neil Peart from the Canadian band Rush decided to make a tribute album to one of the world's best drummers of all time. That drummer being none other than Buddy Rich. i have had the good fortune to see Buddy Rich perform live in a small jazz club a few times. Buddy has a great jazz-styled technique that was the backbone to many upbeat jazz bands for decades!
Seen to the right is Buddy at the ripe old age of 18 months already holding a pair of drum sticks and ready to play! Born in Brooklyn, N.Y. on Sept. 30, 1917 as Bernard Rich, "Buddy" was eventually known as more a speed drummer in jazz bands giving explosive performances nightly. Since his parents performed in vaudeville, this 1919 photo seen to the right was taken just before his first public performances where he was billed as "Traps, The Drum Wonder." Buddy later danced on Broadway by age four, toured throughout Australia at six and led his own band when he was eleven!
Although Buddy's style could be extremely explosive, his talents were extremely diverse. This included the ability to perform extremely delicate rhythms needed during small acoustic trio ballads. His work with Joe Marsala in 1937 with subsequent gigs with Bunny Berigan, Harry James, Artie Shaw and Benny Carter brought Buddy to the limelight. In 1939 he joined Tommy Dorsey's band which solidified his prestige as a big band musician. In fact Buddy roomed with none other than legendary singer Frank Sinatra! The rest, as they say, is HIStory. Sadly, Buddy Rich passed away due to heart failure in Los Angeles on April 2, 1987. His legend still lives through his vast array of recorded music.
This brings us to these two tribute albums. Let me first say that the Volume 2 is not recorded as well as volume one and, in my humble opinion, the musicianship is also lacking. The Volume 1 is the real jewel here. Produced by Neil Peart and mastered by none other than critically acclaimed Bob Ludwig at his Gateway Studios in Maine, this album is both a musical and sonic achievement that can easily withstand the test of time. With drummers such as the legendary is his own time Max Roach, Bill Bruford, Steve Gadd (to name a few), this album was destine to become a wonderful statement of how Buddy Rich's music inspired many other world-renown musicians.
The CD starts out with bombastic snare drum riffs by Simon Phillips followed by the complete big band breaking into the song "Dancing Men". Dave Weckl is the drummer for the next track "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" which is more of a slower grove than the previously fast-paced track. "Love For Sale" features the mellow yet upbeat stylings of Steve Gadd on drums. Track six, "Cotton Tail" gives all us Rush fans a glimpse to Neil Peart's more jazzy side of music. Surly a far cry from the more robotic styling of the later Rush albums.
In total 18 tracks of superbly well performed (and recorded) music fills this CD. Burning For Buddy Volume 1 is a must-have for any Big Band music lover. With a legend like Buddy Rich as your inspiration how can you go wrong?