PETE CATER’S ES­SEN­TIAL BUDDY RICH CUTS

THE MODERN BIG BAND MAESTRO’S TOP FIVE BUDDY PICKS

Rhythm - - FEATURE -

“As band leader and side­man, from 1938 to ’86 Buddy laid down an in­cred­i­ble quan­tity of recorded work with some of the best bands of the swing era (Ar­tie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey), the giants of jazz (Dizzy Gille­spie, Char­lie Parker, Ella Fitzger­ald, Louis Arm­strong) and yet for me it is the mu­sic of his big band from 1966 on­wards that de­fines his unique con­tri­bu­tions to the art of jazz and the art of drum­ming. It’s 50 years since my dad came home with a copy of Swing­ing New Big Band, and it is un­ques­tion­ably the mu­sic of Buddy’s band to which I owe my life­long love of and affin­ity with the genre.”

‘READYMIX’ SWING­ING NEW BIG BAND (1966)

“Here­point to is provea brand and new the band open­ing with a state­ment on this record an­nounces the ar­rival of a band on fire, with Buddy’s drums act­ing as an ac­cel­er­ant and set­ting the in­ten­sity which would be the call­ing card of the Buddy Rich Big Band for the next two decades.”

‘WIL­LOWCREST ’ BIG SWING FACE (1967)

“The jazz waltz had come into vogue slightly less than a decade prior to this record­ing and the vibe of the drums was usu­ally light and spa­cious in or­der to re­flect the more open ap­proach of the bass player, with far less em­pha­sis on the swing­ing, ‘walk­ing’ lines. Whilst most of the drum­mers of the day took a lin­ear ap­proach – with Elvin Jones be­ing an ob­vi­ous ex­cep­tion – the Buddy Rich jazz waltz is a har­monic, four-limbed mus­cu­lar ap­proach which he’d use again and again in charts like ‘Preach And Teach’ and ‘Ode To Billy Joe’. The eight-bar drum break into the shout cho­rus is a litle ten­ta­tive com­pared with what he would do in later years, and it’s worth com­par­ing with the BBC clip of the band play­ing the same chart at the 1978 Mon­treux Jazz Fes­ti­val as a clear ex­am­ple of how Buddy wasn’t con­tent with ‘good enough’ and con­tin­ued to push him­self and grow as a mu­si­cian for his en­tire ca­reer.”

NEW BLUES’ ‘ THE NEW ONE (1967)

“Prior to play­ing this on the World’s Great­est Drum­mer show I de­scribed it as a ‘mo­ment of calm’. It’s more than that; it’s pos­si­bly the most demon­stra­tive proof of Buddy’s mu­si­cal­ity, sub­tlety and ex­tra­or­di­nary creativity where fills were con­cerned. The dy­namic range of this com­po­si­tion is vast, vary­ing as it does from a whis­per to a roar and back again. Buddy steers the band through these changes with mas­ter­ful un­der­state­ment, a qual­ity in his play­ing all too of­ten over­looked by the self-se­lect­ing jazz in­tel­li­gentsia.”

‘TIME BE­ING’ VERY ALIVE AT RONIE SCOTT’S(1971)

“See­ing Buddy play this on TV when I was about eight was a mas­sive turn­ing point for me. Hav­ing heard the records so many times, to ac­tu­ally see Buddy do his stuf was an ex­traor­di­nar­ily pow­er­ful stim­u­lus to the devel­op­ment of this fledg­ling player. I still have the cas­sette record­ing I made at the time, and the de­noue­ment of Bill Hol­man’s score is ac­tu­ally Buddy’s drum solo cli­max or­ches­trated for the en­tire band. Any­one who ac­tu­ally heard the band play this live is very for­tu­nate, as it was never go­ing to have the longevity of West Side Story or Chan­nel One, but I am ac­tu­ally in the process of rewrit­ing the chart with a view to play­ing it in pub­lic at some point soon.”

‘TALES OF RHODA RAT ’ WHAM! THE BR BIG BAND LIVE(2001)

“A long-time favourite of mine and a reg­u­lar item in my big band shows. How­ever, I haven’t cho­sen the orig­i­nal stu­dio ver­sion of this Bob Mintzer chart, but a posthu­mously re­leased, rel­a­tively low fidelity live record­ing. This is pure nos­tal­gia for me as it takes me back to the UK Buddy con­certs of the late-’70s and early-’80s and go­ing with my Dad to the Birm­ing­ham Odeon. The band would play this a lot and Buddy’s unique and un­de­ni­ably groovy, semi-im­pro­vised ap­proach to funk came in for crit­i­cism from the ‘too hip for Buddy’ bri­gade of the time. Lis­ten again and note the ex­tent to which his­tory has proved them wrong.”

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