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Buddy Rich: One of a Kind

Buddy Rich

Buddy Rich: One of a Kind (The Making of the World’s Greatest Drummer) is a complete record of the life and career of Buddy Rich.

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In this meticulously researched biography, author Pelle Berglund presents the first comprehensive book on the life of Buddy Rich, still considered by many to be the greatest drummer ever to pick up sticks. Using interviews with many of Buddy’s band members (some conducted by the author himself) along with extensive sourcing of quotes from practically every interview ever given by Buddy himself, a complete chronology of Buddy’s life is presented—along with insights into what drove him and what he thought about the various situations and people he encountered through his life. One of a Kind recounts each chapter of a life lived in the spotlight: childhood star Traps, the Drum Wonder; young jazz drummer with Joe Marsala and Bunny Berigan; star sideman with Artie Shaw, Harry James, and Tommy Dorsey; and leading various incarnations of the Buddy Rich Big Band. A twentieth century icon, Buddy’s relationships with Shaw, Dorsey, Count Basie, Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Gene Krupa, Norman Granz, Lana Turner, and his family, including wife Marie and daughter Cathy are insightfully investigated.

Never-before-seen photos of Buddy culled from the private collection of collector Charley Braun add a new perspective on Buddy’s life—including a 16-page featured photo section.  Beyond providing a complete timeline of Buddy Rich’s life, One of a Kind provides a glimpse into the mind of a musical titan who demanded greatness from himself and those around him, and became one of the most celebrated and controversial stars in music.

377 pages | Foreword by Max Weinberg

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  1. Scott Yanow
    Verified Owner
    By Scott Yanow - LAJazzScene.com
    There is no real explanation as to how Buddy Rich became the most remarkable of all drummers. He was self-taught starting when he was only 18 months old, and by the time he was three (when he was billed as “Traps – The Drum Wonder”), he was helping to support his family in vaudeville. He could play faster, louder and with more technique than any other drummer of the past or present. Just look at any film of Buddy Rich taking a drum solo on You Tube and try not to be amazed. While there have been several fine books out on Rich including Mel Torme’s 1991 Traps: The Drum Wonder, the recent work by Pelle Berglund titled One Of A Kind is quite definitive. Conducting interviews with 25 of Rich’s associates, friends and family members and adding the highlights to the most interesting and illuminating stories and quotes from books, newspapers, magazines and early interviews with the drummer, Berglund has put together a continually fascinating and informative biography. While the outlines of Buddy Rich’s life are well known, this book fills in the gaps. One learns quite a bit about Rich’s early years, his period in vaudeville, his struggle as he outgrew being a child his performer, and his discovery of jazz. There are full chapters on his periods with Joe Marsala’s Chicagoans, Bunny Berigan, Artie Shaw and Tommy Dorsey. One learns of his difficult time in the Marines, his big bands of the bebop era, his association with Norman Granz and Jazz At The Philharmonic, Rich’s relationship with Harry James, and finally his unlikely emergence as the leader of his own successful big bands in the 1960s and ‘70s. Along the way Berglund discusses Rich’s love/hate relationship with Frank Sinatra, the three-month period after he broke his arm in the 1940s that he spent playing one-handed with his band (still taking solos that scared other drummers), his friendship and rivalry with Gene Krupa, and his personality and infamous temper. The latter are dealt with in an even-handed way. The author correctly recognizes that Rich gave 120% of himself on stage and expected the same of his musicians. They did not have to be perfect but they had to work hard at all times, and when they fell short because they were lax or did not care, he tended to blow up. Rich could also be quite kind at times, but he was certainly never dull. In addition to the colorful biography, an extensive bibliography, and 16 pages of photos, the book has reviews of 21 film appearances that Rich made during 1930-60. One Of A Kind, published by Hudson Music, is available from www.hudsonmusic.com and is a must for all jazz collections. It comes as close as any work to covering the life and career of the World’s Greatest Drummer.
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  2. Reb Bilinski
    Buddy Rich One of A Kind
    Excellent research by Pelle, a wealth of information and a great read! Highly recommend.
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  3. Terry Wayland
    Verified Owner
    Buddy Rich One of a Kind
    The most comprehensive music biography about Buddy Rich I’ve ever read. Buddy Rich One of a Kind is filled with little known facts and photos that make the reader feel like they knew Buddy Rich personally. Berglund succeeds in portraying the fascinating life of Buddy Rich from the early years as a vaudeville performer until the time of his passing. It was an honor to provide photos and articles that Berglund used to make Buddy Rich One of a Kind come to life. Terry Wayland professional drummer
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  4. Michael
    Verified Owner
    Great Book
    Well written with lots of insight. Very enjoyable.
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