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Buddy Rich is pretty damned good


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I have to say, that despite 25 years of Zep devotion and a particularly acute fan status of Bonzo's wizardry, I never bothered to see if Buddy Rich was any good. Any fan of Zep has likely heard at least once Keith Moon's dress down of Rich's apparent status as the world's best drummer, rather than Mr. Bonham - all captured on the "For Badgeholder's Only" audience capture of 1977/06/23.

But as I watch this video, I slowly come to the realization that perhaps Mr. Moon made an unwise early conclusion.....

 

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25 years, eh? Well...better late than never, I suppose. Buddy Rich is more than "pretty damned good". Buddy Rich is unquestionably one of the giants of drumming. There is a reason why Bonham modeled his drum kit after the style of Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa. When Moon made those remarks he was piss-drunk and not to be taken seriously. No drummer with any sense would seriously dress down Buddy Rich's ability. He eats rock drummers for breakfast.

 

 

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 I wonder if John Bonham had heard of seen seen Jo Jones play...There are some definite similarities...Either way I love both of these guys...Technique, soul and kick ass heart...!

Jo Jones shifted the timekeeping role of the drums from the bass drum to the hi-hat cymbal, greatly influencing all swing and bop drummers. Buddy Rich and Louie Bellson were just two who learned from his light but forceful playing, as Jones swung the Count Basie Orchestra with just the right accents and sounds.
 
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Bonham was most definitely inspired by both the drummers seen here. A lot of people complain about John's solos during the 77 tour but if you actually listen you will hear him doing a lot of the kind of snare work Buddy does in most of his solos from that tour. In fact, I would say he was trying to recreate what he had seen Buddy do in his solos. Bonham had a very good one-handed roll in both hands, he wasn't as fast as Buddy and didn't have the same expertise in his technique, but he could still fly with his. When you watch him play with his hands you can see him emulate Papa Jones to a "T". Hands held sideways, he even emulates the rhythm Jones plays with his fingers.  

Buddy Rich is a testament to proper technique. Just watch his wrist action he is second to none.   He was the best drummer I have ever experienced and I have heard and seen a few in my day.  

Papa Jones also has incredible technique. The stuff he played on the rim was A MA ZING!!!! what amazing speed and accuracy. He didn't hit a bum note. Aren't too many drummers today who even think about playing the drums like that. Both of these gentlemen had more talent and imagination in the little fingers than most of today's musicians who mostly think they are great rather than truly being great.

 

Edited by juxtiphi
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Awesome thread, and spreads Zep fans listening "fundamentals". Also shows up fools like G.Baker, who

somehow didn't listen enough to Bonzo to realize his simply enormous stylistic capabilities. And, a not small amount of Bonzo's solos are actually pretty musical, not just macho muscle flexing. It wasn't until

the late 80's, or even later, that most realized that Page, although recovering his skills, was so interdependent on Bonzo in Zep that it sounded as if a hole was now present, regardless of the new

drummer. Bonham's extensive forays into players like  Rich or Krupa created such a rich tapestry of

sound, mixed with all the other things. No doubt Page freaked when Bonzo died, for personal AND

musical reasons.

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 I wonder if John Bonham had heard of seen seen Jo Jones play...There are some definite similarities...Either way I love both of these guys...Technique, soul and kick ass heart...!

Jo Jones shifted the timekeeping role of the drums from the bass drum to the hi-hat cymbal, greatly influencing all swing and bop drummers. Buddy Rich and Louie Bellson were just two who learned from his light but forceful playing, as Jones swung the Count Basie Orchestra with just the right accents and sounds.
 

That was incredible! It's interesting to 'hear Bonzo' in some clips (of course it's the other way around...). A pleasure to watch!

He was kind of a dick though, FWIW.

 

Well, there's that... awkward... drummers are, I think, the craziest of the musician lot. There's a difference between this and Baker, for instance, who seems unable to reel in the miserable, misanthropic crazy, whereas Rich is a nutter for perfectionistic standards. That's not to excuse the behaviour...

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  • 10 months later...
On 9/26/2015 at 1:57 PM, juxtiphi said:

Bonham was most definitely inspired by both the drummers seen here. A lot of people complain about John's solos during the 77 tour but if you actually listen you will hear him doing a lot of the kind of snare work Buddy does in most of his solos from that tour. In fact, I would say he was trying to recreate what he had seen Buddy do in his solos. Bonham had a very good one-handed roll in both hands, he wasn't as fast as Buddy and didn't have the same expertise in his technique, but he could still fly with his. When you watch him play with his hands you can see him emulate Papa Jones to a "T". Hands held sideways, he even emulates the rhythm Jones plays with his fingers.  

Buddy Rich is a testament to proper technique. Just watch his wrist action he is second to none.   He was the best drummer I have ever experienced and I have heard and seen a few in my day.  

Papa Jones also has incredible technique. The stuff he played on the rim was A MA ZING!!!! what amazing speed and accuracy. He didn't hit a bum note. Aren't too many drummers today who even think about playing the drums like that. Both of these gentlemen had more talent and imagination in the little fingers than most of today's musicians who mostly think they are great rather than truly being great.

 

Well said!

OK so, first of all Buddy Rich was a dick , sometimes...so was Bonzo, that's been well documented. So were ( and continue to be) many great artists.  Ginger Baker on the other hand can't hold a candle to Bonzo IMO. Bonzo easily outperformed him in sound, groove, feel and chops.  He said Bonzo couldn't swing from a rope...neither could he!! He's not a jazz drummer, give me a break. Misanthropic crazy is right! That  Beware Mr. Baker documentary was depressing, what an ass.

Actually Bonzo could swing !  His phrasing has a lot of swing in it because he was influenced by great jazz drummers as well as the great R & B, Soul and Rock and Roll drummers. He clearly absorbed a lot from people like Elvin Jones (triplets) , May Roach ( he regularly began his solo after the melody of Moby Dick by quoting Max's solo The Drum Also Waltzes), maybe even Philly Joe Jones ( he often played para-diddle-diddles all over the place , and Philly also played the legendary bass drum first note rest triplet figure which made Bonzo immediately stand out on Good Times Bad Times) . I'm getting geeky here I know, but I feel this is something I haven't often read about and as a jazz drummer who is also a huge Bonzo head , I hear these similarities.  His drums often sound to me like Sonny Payne's kit with Basie's band, especially the bass drum. Notice the set up is virtually the same too, (ala Buddy Rich) with the 5 piece , right down to the cymbals set flat . Bonzo's tuning was basically big band tuning , just heavier sounding because he used bigger drums. Under that bricklayer's touch he had a lot of sophistication and finesse. 

Buddy was untouchable, truly a natural and with phenomenal hands but go to YouTube and search Sonny Payne. A real bad ass chops-wise and a great showman, but first and foremost a great swinging drummer with a beautiful sound. Buddy couldn't swing like that, but he was a super bad MF !

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