Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gene Krupa - Rim Shot Syncopator

He was such an icon amongst jazz percussionists that Singapore music enthusiasts and music-makers accepted him as their idol way back in the 50's.

Even as a school-boy, I listened to Gene Krupa in the late 50's when he was with Benny Goodman and their recording of the hit, Sing, Sing, Sing (1937)*. It is the legend that this piece gave birth to swing and it remains my favourite to this day. He also appeared himself in a movie, 'The Glen Miller Story' (1954), played beside Louis Armstrong and 'Basin Street Blues' became cult classic.

Krupa was the man behind the drum kit set up as it became standard equipment for most drummers after him. Zildjian, the drum company, learnt a lot from Krupa. His compositions include, 'Some Like It Hot', 'Drummin' Man' and 'Drum Boogie' the enthusiast's ultimate drum dream.

He has a movie to his name, 'The Gene Krupa Story' starring Sal Mineo (who recorded, 'Mack The Knife'), a street after his name in New York and was the first drummer to be in the corridors of the Modern Drummer Hall Of Fame.

In 1959 when this movie was shown in Singapore, a drumming competition was held to promote it. Louis Soliano who was one of the contestants won the trophy and dubbed The Gene Krupa of Singapore. Until today good friend Louis is still among the top drummers in Singapore.
Krupa shaped my love for drums. Danny Boy (The Silver Strings drummer) reveres Krupa too. Was Krupa better than Brian Bennett, Tony Meehan, Howie Johnson and Mel Taylor of guitar groups fame? It's a personal taste.

He was their biggest influence. Oh yes, and Buddy Rich...
Gene Krupa: 1909 -1973

*100 most important American musical works of the 20th Century.
Singapore's music legend and our own Gene Krupa, percussionist and singer, Louis Soliano.


Anonymous said...

Buddy Rich is an icon during his days.

Andy Young* said...

I love Buddy Rich too and would love to feature him but then it is a blog for Singapore bands and singers, so extreme meandering might not be a good idea.
I have also been asked on my email to feature 60s music from other parts of the world. Won't do justice to this blog. Besides I am not familiar with pop world music; also I am struggling with this one.