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2008 Buddy Rich Memorial Concert – Highlights From The Paradiddler

by Omar on October 30, 2008

in Drummers, Event Review

Welcome back to  My last post was before the Buddy Rich Memorial Concert (BRMC) which took place this past October 18th.  The Paradiddler was there (well, online anyway via – more on that in a future post).  And it was a sensational show.

Previously I reviewed Modern Drummer’s 2006 Festival, and it’s very interesting the differences in atmosphere of the shows.  Both shows featured drummers of the same caliber.  But MD’s festival certainly had a clinic-like flavor, where the emphasis was on each drummer displaying their approach to the drum kit within different frameworks, be it in a solo, an ensemble with other drummers, or playing songs in their genre.  The BRMC had a different feel.  Although you could see each drummer’s personality and individuality, you could not help but note Buddy Rich’s strong influence on all participants.  The drummers all seemed humbled in playing the songs of arguably the greatest drummer of all time, plus a few extra songs, and that made it an incredibly fun show.

The show pretty much followed the lineup as presented in the program.  I recommend getting the program for yourself (you can do that here).  Not only does it show the lineup for the show, it contains a nice little biography of Buddy Rich, and of the other drummers in the show.  A nice little keeper.

I have to admit that my knowledge of Buddy Rich songs is not extensive by any means, so I definitely have a lot of great drumming I look forward to viewing!  Of course I’ve seen and heard some, but coincidentally none of the songs played this night I’ve heard Buddy play (gotta put that on my to-do list).  A few were repeats from the first tribute that Neil Peart participated in in the 90’s (I mention Neil because he produced this show), and it was nice to see different interpretations of these great big-band songs.

Now some brief quips on the performances.  First up was Tommy Igoe.  I admit I have a lot to discover as far as some of the great drummers that are out there, and Tommy sure didn’t disappoint.  He played on a 4pc kit, and it sang.  Tommy has great technique and great groove.  See now I’m gonna have to review his DVD’s!  He played “Little Train” and “Preach and Teach.”  I’ve never heard these songs, but they were performed superbly.

Next up was John Blackwell.  This guy is just sick!  I’m just discovering John’s playing, and it looks like he’s gonna go on The Paradiddler’s Artists page!  He played on a 5pc kit, and his interesting cymbal arrangement includes a china that hovers above him on his right.  He never looks at it when he hits it, while his hands are flailing all over the place!  But he doesn’t miss a beat.  His stick action is amazing; I really don’t know how he doesn’t drop his sticks, but he never did (at least I didn’t see it).

John played three songs, “No Jive,” “Nutville,” and “Mind of Jay.”  You definitely can see his style shine through on these songs.  In “No Jive,” he played these amazing single-handed rolls and very interesting stick-on-stick play, with some clever over and under moves.  The solo at the end is jaw dropping.

Next was “Nuvtille,” and I had a particular interest to this rendition since one of my favorite drummers, Steve Smith, played it on the Burning for Buddy project in 1994.  Steve’s version seemed jazzier, while John’s had more of a funkier feel (at least that’s what I felt!).  “Mind of Jay” had a lot of blazing fills and other interesting techniques that I almost don’t know how to describe, so you’ll just have to see for yourself (you’ll be able to eventually, either on the, or via DVD, which was mentioned it would be in the works).

Donnie Marple performed next.  He was the 2007 Guitar Center Drum-Off champion, and he was there just to perform a drum solo, no BR songs.  This was a great solo with lots of fluidity and speed.  Very apparent why he won the drum-off.

Next up was Terry Bozzio with Efraín Toro on percussion.  Terry’s popular, among other things, for his playing for Frank Zappa and Missing Persons, and also for using all the cymbals in the store in his kit.  They played three songs, “Some Skunk Funk,” a Venture Brothers medley w/Cowboy BeBop, and “Machine.”  “Some Skunk Funk” is one of my favorite songs, and they performed a very nice rendition.  These were BR songs, but Terry definitely made them his own.

And then the intermission!  Which is what I’m going to do here.  I’ll review the second half of the show in my next post.  Really great performances to talk about:  Buddy’s grandson Nick, Chad Smith, and Neil Peart!

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