Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa: Praising the Genius Drummers

Jazz drum kit set up like Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa
Don’t forget the traditional grip.

It’s genius drummers time as here we have Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich—two of the best drummers in history.

Rich and Krupa

They used traditional grip (the angled hold of the stick in the left hand) over match grip (where you hold the stick as if you’re going to assault someone), which has fallen out of favour in modern drumming.

And why? Maybe the ghost of Rich and Krupa told everyone to keep off their turf, or perhaps some folk just prefer holding it that way.

Anyway, in the ’60s the jazz legends toured around the United States doing drum battles. Here’s one such example from the Sammy Davis Jr. Show.

Rich kind of destroys Krupa here, but we should point out this 1966 video sees a relatively young Rich, versus Krupa over a decade older than Rich.

Frankly, both the solos offer a different style, with Krupa doing slow and funky, Rich going bananas.

At any rate, Krupa and Rich are seen as two of the best drummers of all time. There’s no denying that. Mr. Krupa’s impact on drumming is remarkable and inspired a certain Keith Moon.

As for Buddy Rich, what does one say? The guy’s incredible. John Bonham—well, Led Zeppelin’s drummer did drum solos often dragged on for 30 minutes.

But in two minutes right here Rich showed the world no one else can do what he does. And for this we praise him, and swing drummers, for being awesome.

Addendum: Drum Solos

You can check out our history of drum solos over the decades for more details. They were a big deal in swing music and jazz.

And then Ginger Baker took the drum solo to make a big deal about the thing.

Since the 1960s, drum solos are a pretty regular feature at live concerts and whatnot.

Although it can be self-indulgent, when done properly they’re also thrilling and well worth your time.

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