Drum Legends Drum Heads

Baby Dodds, Buddy Rich, Chick Webb, Gene Krupa, Jo Jones, Louie Bellson, Viola Smith

Features original paintings by artist Maureen Brown Gratton.

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These Drum Legends Drum Heads are a beautiful, limited-edition offering that any drumming enthusiast will want in their collection. Each drum head features an original painting by artist Maureen Brown Gratton.

These heads capture the essence of each classic drummer. Each head is printed on a high-quality, Made in USA, 12” Evans drumhead, using a high-quality imprint method that will not fade.

About the Artist

MAUREEN BROWN GRATTON – Starting her career as a professional drummer/singer/percussionist and bandleader, she made Canadian history as the first drummer in the country to be recognized as Blues Drummer of the Year, the first 3 years awarded, when she was the only woman nominated in the category. Moe’s Art is her art adventure where she is an acclaimed pet portrait artist and a multi-media artist creating art on canvas, clothing, drum heads and MOrE. Ringo Starr is just one of the many people who own a piece of Moe’s Art.

Available Drummers Include:

Buddy Rich: 1917-1987

A household name, Buddy Rich  started playing professionally as a part of his parents’ vaudeville act, and at the age of 19, gave up the vaudeville stage for a career as jazz musician. In six decades of playing, he swung and inspired a number of big bands, including those led by Bunny Berigan, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, and Harry James, but his made his greatest impact with his own big band, a precise, high-energy unit that he led, with a couple of timeouts, from 1966 through 1987.

Baby Dodds: 1898-1959

While there is no official starting point for the actual beginning of jazz drumming, Baby Dodds is the drummer most frequently cited as taking New Orleans parade and street drumming steps beyond, into what we now know as jazz drumming.  As a part of Fate Marabel’s band on one riverboat, Dodds met a young Louis Armstrong, eventually playing as a part of trumpeter King Oliver’s influential jazz band.

Chick Webb: 1909-1939

As the first drumming bandleader in jazz history, Webb brought attention to the instrument and helped define the drummer’s role in a big band setting in line with fills, kicks, shading, explosive drum breaks, and dynamics.

Gene Krupa: 1909-1973

The man who made the drums a solo instrument and helped develop the modern drum kit. Gene Krupa refined and developed Chick Webb’s sense of big band swing, and built upon the foundation of drum pioneers like Baby Dodds and Zutty Singleton.

“Papa” Jo Jones: 1911-1985

He’s been called “the man who played like the wind,” “the father of modern jazz drumming,” “Mister Hi-Hat,”  a jazz drumming innovator, ground breaker and pioneer.  Papa Jo’s fluid work with Count Basie paved the way for modern drummers use of the ride cymbal as the primary time-keeper, and his melodic solos foreshadowed the work of Max Roach and other modernists in later years.

Viola Smith: 1912-2020

As one of the first professional female drummers in history, she played in big bands, small groups, symphonic settings, in vaudeville and in two Hollywood films,  on radio and the Broadway stage, and on the Ed Sullivan television program five times.  Having studied at Julliard and with legendary the Billy Gladstone, and citing Louie Bellson as a major inspiration, she moved effortlessly from co-leading an all-female orchestra called the Coquettes, to a featured soloist with the popular, all-girl ensemble, Phil Spitalny’s Hour of Charm Orchestra.

Louie Bellson 1931–2009

Described by Duke Ellington as “not only the world’s greatest drummer…(but also) the world’s greatest musician,” Louie Bellson had expressed himself on drums since age three. At 15, he pioneered the double bass drum set-up. At 17, he triumphed over 40,000 drummers to win the Gene Krupa drumming contest.

He performed on more than 200 albums with such greats as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Woody Herman, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Louie Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, James Brown, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Joe Williams, Wayne Newton and Bellson’s late wife Pearl Bailey.

In 1942, he performed with the Benny Goodman band and Peggy Lee in “The Power Girl”. In 1943 “The Gang’s All Here” and “Stage Door Canteen”. Louie was 24 and a veteran of the U.S. Army Band when he joined Danny Kaye, Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Barnett, Benny Carter, Mel Powell, Benny Goodman and others in “A Song Is Born” (1948). He served as musical director for his late wife Pearl Bailey’s concerts and TV show.

Louie Bellson replaced Sonny Greer in the Duke Ellington Orchestra in 1951. He left in 1953 returning in 1956 and once more from 1965-66. His contributions to the Ellington repertoire include Skin Deep and The Hawk Talks. He also performed with Ellington on the classic Concerts of Sacred Music; on the stage production My People; and on the movie soundtrack of Assault on A Queen.

In 1966, Bellson toured briefly with both Count Basie and ex-boss Harry James. He served as musical director for his late wife both on her TV show, ABC’s The Pearl Bailey Show, and on the numerous tours they performed together.

As a prolific creator of music, both written and improvised, his more than 1,000 compositions and arrangements embrace jazz, swing, romantic orchestral suites, symphonic works and ballet. As an author, he has published more than a dozen books on drums and percussion.

He received the prestigious American Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1994. Also, he is a six-time Grammy nominee.


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