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Title - 'Birdland' (Caroline)
Artist - Buddy Rich

"This is the tightest big band in the world!" Yup, that's just one of the quotes that's been given to Buddy Rich and his Big Band and listening to Birdland you can hardly argue the observation either!

Simply put, Birdland is a masterpiece. A masterclass in the craft of drumming. There's just no other word to sum this killer album up with. The energy is abounding, the passion unbeatable, the belief that Rich knows he's just that good running deep throughout.

Indeed, the previously unreleased live Birdland album even is seen in the Academy Award winning film, 'Whiplash' - quite literally! It's in the hands of young star Miles Teller, who plays an extraordinary drummer who idolizes Buddy Rich! Rich, who died in 1987, was billed as "the world's greatest drummer" everywhere he went, and was known for his virtuoso technique, power, groove, and speed. Lovingly, 'Whiplash' pays its own small homage to him.

I mean, if you know the story of Rich, it will blow your mind. At age just 11 he was performing as a bandleader! He received no formal drum instruction and went so far as to claim that instruction would only degrade his musical talent. He also never admitted to practicing, claiming to play the drums only during performances and was not known to read music!

Wanna get all drum tech savvy now for a moment? OK, well, Rich was known as a performer and endorser of Slingerland and Rogers Drums. He switched to Ludwig drums for much of the 1970s to the early 1980s. While recovering from a heart attack in 1983, Rich was presented with a 1940s-vintage Slingerland Radio King set refurbished by Joe MacSweeney of Eames Drums which he used until his death in 1987. Rich's typical setup included a 14"x24" bass drum, 9"x13" mounted tom, two 16"x16" floor toms (with the second tom serving as a towel holder), and a 5.5"x14" snare drum. His cymbals were typically Avedis Zildjian: 14" New Beat hi hats, 20" medium ride, 6" or 8" splash, two 18" crashes (thin and medium-thin), and later a 22" swish. Phew, there we go. I'm all done now.

Anyway, Birdland is Buddy Rich and his Killer Force Band at the peak of their performing years. This rare, previously unreleased, and all original production was recorded with Buddy's permission by bandmate Alan Gauvin, who has also now mixed and edited the project together. Birdland was also mastered by Tom Swift and gets its CD (and Vinyl) release this May through Caroline Distribution, the independent arm of Universal Music Group, on the Lightyear/Lobitos Creek Label.

'Birdland' CD Purchase Link