Arguably the greatest drummer of all time once said, “I consider every drummer that ever played before me an influence, in every way.” Bernard Rich or more commonly known as “Buddy” once said this regarding a question on who is greatest influence was. Rich was most noted for his talents as a jazz drummer and a bandleader. With his virtuosic power, groove, technique, and speed, it is no wonder that he was the most revolutionary drummer of his time. He exhibited his love for music through the dedication of his life to the art. Buddy Rich is still a huge influence on many modern day drummers. From Buddy’s unique background and early years, he was able to develop that into a very prosperous career and accomplished many things that have never been done before on a drum set.
Buddy’s passion for drums started at a very early age, “his talent for rhythm was first noted by his father, who saw that Buddy could keep a steady beat with spoons at the age of one” (). Just six months later, Buddy was billed “Traps the Drum Wonder” where he was paid to travel all over the world to perform his talents on the drums in some of the world’s biggest venues, including regular acts on Broadway. At the peak of his childhood career, Buddy was reportedly the second highest paid child entertainer in the world. By the time Buddy was eleven, he was performing as a bandleader. At that time, the common age for a bandleader was around thirty years old. As Buddy grew older, “his talents only matured and his overall drumming ability was phenomenal…the kid was simply amazing” (). The admiration he gained from some of the premier musicians of his time only sparked his exceptional career.
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. Eventually, “Buddy went on to play with the one of the most renowned jazz singers of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s: Frank Sinatra” ().Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Rich toured with his own bands and opened two nightclubs, Buddy’s Place and Buddy’s Place II. “Both of these places were regularly filled to max capacity just to see the greatest drummer of all time” (). Later in Rich’s career, he introduced new elements of rock music into his repertoire of drumming ability. This just demonstrates his amazing ability to adapt to his audience’s taste in music and it overall established himself as a great rock drummer.