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Drummer Extraordinaire

Patricia Sullivan

Jazz fans, drummers and regular watchers of the old Johnny Carson TV show knew Louie Bellson. When he made one of his many appearances in Washington at the Cellar Door in 1981, our reviewer said "Louie Bellson's hands move faster than the eye as they course the battery of 10 drums and a half dozen cymbals he hunches over, his facial muscles lending fleeting, continuous commentary on the musical activity he is the center of."

If you missed him, check out this You Tube video of him from 1957 (and if you like it, check out the multiple other videos of him on You Tube).

A paragraph that I had to cut for space last night discussed Mr. Bellson's famous revolving drumstand:
When (Tommy) Dorsey found out Mr. Bellson planned to leave the band to study music, Dorsey hit the switch that turned the revolving drum stand around, then left the drummer with his back to the crowd.
"I turned around to Tommy and said, "Even Shakespeare's got an ending." Then he really got mad at me," Mr. Bellson said.

By Patricia Sullivan  |  February 17, 2009; 11:15 AM ET
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Though Gene Krupa & Buddy Rich are considered drumming's patron saints, its Louie's legacy which is widespread. Witness the multitude of 'double bass' drummers out there today.

Posted by: nonsensical2001 | February 17, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

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