Arguably the greatest jazz drummer of all time, the legendary Buddy Rich exhibited his love for music through the dedication of his life to the art. His was a career that spanned seven decades, beginning when Rich was 18 months old and continuing until his death in 1987. Immensely gifted, Rich could play with remarkable speed and dexterity despite the fact that he never received a formal lesson and refused to practice outside of his performances.

Born Bernard Rich to vaudevillians Robert and Bess Rich on September 30, 1917, the famed drummer was introduced to audiences at a very young age. By 1921, he was a seasoned solo performer with his vaudeville act, "Traps the Drum Wonder." With his natural sense of rhythm, Rich performed regularly on Broadway at the age of four. At the peak of Rich's early career, he was the second-highest paid child entertainer in the world.

Rich's jazz career began in 1937 when he began playing with Joe Marsala at New York's Hickory House. By 1939, he had joined Tommy Dorsey's band, and he later went on to play with such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Ventura, Louis Armstrong and Gene Krupa. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Rich toured with his own bands and opened two nightclubs, Buddy's Place and Buddy's Place II.

Buddy received outstanding recognition throughout his career. The Downbeat Magazine Hall of Fame Award, the Modern Drummer Magazine Hall of Fame Award and the Jazz Unlimited Immortals of Jazz Award are just a few of his numerous honors.

On April 2, 1987, Rich died of heart failure following surgery for a malignant brain tumor. Longtime friend, Frank Sinatra, spoke a touching eulogy at Rich's funeral. Today, Buddy Rich is remembered as one of history's greatest musicians. According to jazz legend Gene Krupa, Rich was "The greatest drummer ever to have drawn breath."


Buddy Rich and Terry Gibbs - Flashback Performance

 Flashback Performance:
  Don't miss this flashback performance of the Buddy Rich Big Band, featuring Terry Gibbs!

Vic Firth/Hudson Music Video Feature:
Buddy Rich - At the Top

Recorded at the Top of the Plaza in Rochester, New York on February 6, 1973, this remains one of the most sought-after and influential shows ever recorded by Buddy. He was in top form, roaring on definitive versions of the legendary “Love For Sale,” “Time Check,” “Norwegian Wood,” “Basically Blues” and “West Side Story.” Special DVD bonuses include three rare clips, including his appearance as the "mystery gues" on What's My Line, a blazing solo from a performance on The Mark of Jazz, and a solo from one of his very last performances at Disneyland in 1984.

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 Buddy Rich - At the Top
  Check out Buddy on these cuts from At the Top!

Buddy's signature stick:
Buddy Rich (SBR)
A modified 5A with a larger tip‚ neck and shoulder.
L = 16 5/16" | Dia. = .590"
  [enlarge photo]
Buddy Rich Nylon (SBRN)
A modified 5A with a larger tip‚ neck and shoulder.
L = 16 5/16" | Dia. = .590"
  [enlarge photo]