June 29, 1990 |
You could always tell when the cowboy was singing at my old movie theater, because most of us kids headed up the aisle to the candy counter. A similar exodus occurred when a movie dropped into a nightclub and the band started playing. There was an exception, however, when this guy with wild hair started playing his drums with such outer-space zeal, such manic energy, that all of us sat back down, mouths agape. The guy clearly was no mere earthling. He was Gene Krupa, and he was, as fellow drummer Cozy Cole observes, "responsible for making the drums a solo instrument.
June 10, 1993 |
The earth tended to shake when Gene Krupa mounted a drum set. But that was only part of his legend. Krupa is the rare musician who possessed more charisma than the tinsel star, Sal Mineo, who portrayed him in a 1959 film biography. "That's probably the only instance, now that I think of it, in which the original was better-looking than the actor who played him," remarks comedian and pianist Steve Allen, who narrates an hour-long video Gene Krupa: Jazz Legend, recently released on DCI Music Video.
September 11, 1998 |
Bruce H. Klauber fell in love with the drums while watching Gene Krupa on Ed Hurst's "Summertime at the Pier" television show back in 1959. "I couldn't believe it," Klauber recalled. "It looked like the guy was going wild and getting paid for it. " Klauber, 46, of Lafayette Hill, went on to take up the instrument - and journalism. He's musical director for singer Joy Adams, drummer/producer/writer for the DBK jazz record label and author of "World of Gene Krupa: That Legendary Drummin' Man" (Pathfinder)
June 4, 2007 |
With members of alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa's band pounding out their names in Morse code, the intelligence and musical adventurousness of this group of New Yorkers was evident. The Friday night Ars Nova workshop show at International House was supposed to feature Mahanthappa and pianist Vijay Iyer, as well as old free-jazz warriors Billy Bang, Barry Altschul and Joe Fonda. Due to delays, Mahanthappa opened the show, and he had a chameleonic presence. Depending on the music's emotional contexts, he could either sound open and reedy or tough and steely.
December 5, 2008 |
To watch Robbie Cavolina and Ian McCrudden's Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer is to get a close-up look at the strange alchemy that is jazz singing - singing at its most sublime. As more than a few of the veteran jazzbos in this fine and lively documentary attest, O'Day was a musician whose instrument was her voice. The movie makes the case that O'Day belongs on the same uppermost tier where Billie Holiday, Etta James and Sarah Vaughan reside. And despite a life of broken marriages, drinking, smoking (tobacco and otherwise)
December 3, 1987 |
Kathleen Battle, one of the more gifted sopranos of our time, is heard with the Cleveland Orchestra at 8:05 tonight on WFLN (FM/95.7). You may have seen the operatic/concert singer last New Year's Day with Walter Cronkite on a CBS television special from Vienna. She also has sung with the Metropolitan Opera and, locally, with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Ohio-born and a onetime music teacher at a Cincinnati ghetto school, Battle did her first singing in church. Her selections tonight reflect that experience.
December 18, 1987 |
Why do drummers make such great band leaders? (Think of Chick Webb, Gene Krupa, Kenny Clarke, Philly Joe Jones, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Mel Lewis, Ronald Shannon Jackson and Jack De Johnette, for openers.) Maybe it's because no matter who a group's nominal leader is, it's the drummer who sets the tempo, marks the divisions between choruses and shades the dynamics so that every instrument is clearly audible at all times. That's the answer Andrew Cyrille gave me when I put the question to him in an interview last year - and Cyrille is living proof of his own theory.
November 15, 1993 |
Erskine Hawkins, 79, a trumpet player who was one of the greats of the swing era, died Thursday at his home in Willingboro. Hawkins' biggest hit was "Tuxedo Junction. " His group, Erskine Hawkins and His Orchestra, sold a million copies of "Tuxedo Junction" in the 1940s. Glenn Miller later recorded the tune and sold an additional 2 million records. Hawkins' 13-piece orchestra had numerous other hits, including "After Hours" and "Tippin' In. " "He made many contributions to jazz and swing music," said his nephew, John Hawkins, of Severn, Md. "Music will miss him, because he has been a force for years.
October 4, 2000 |
Dennis Sandole, a jazz guitarist, composer and educator whose students included John Coltrane and Pat Martino, died Saturday at his home in Roxborough of congestive heart failure. He had turned 87 the day before. Although virtually unknown outside the community of musicians, Mr. Sandole (san-DOE-lee) left his fingerprints all over the jazz-history book. He played in the big bands of Tommy Dorsey, Gene Krupa and Boyd Raeburn. He recorded with trumpeter Art Farmer, saxophonist Charlie Barnet, and others, and put out only a few records of original material, among them a 1956 collaboration with his brother, Adolph, titled Modern Music From Philadelphia.
January 4, 1991 |
Bobby Scott ran his life every bit as passionately as he always claimed. "If anybody asked me how I wanted to die," he told me in an interview in the fall of '89, "I'd say I wanted to die from living. " Bobby would have been 54 on the 29th of this month. He died in November - of lung cancer. In a perverse way, he had been prophetic. A child prodigy, this enormously fertile musician, composer and writer wrote "A Taste of Honey" and other popular hits; produced records for the Columbia and Mercury labels featuring Harry Belafonte, Dick Haymes, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Quincy Jones and Michel Legrand; composed three film scores, two symphonies, several operas, dozens of chamber music and piano pieces and musical treatments for TV commercials; and authored eight novels and a diffuse personal memoir - none of them formally published - and a collection of musical lives ("Musicians on Music")