Putting the name Buddy Rich and the word “drums” in the same sentence seems redundant. Praised by Gene Krupa as “the greatest drummer to ever draw breath,” Buddy Rich was honored with a President’s Special Merit Grammy Award, inducted into the Downbeat Magazine, Modern Drummer and Playboy Magazine’s Halls of Fame, earned three Grammy nominations, was awarded the Jazz Unlimited Immortals of Jazz Award and was named the greatest Drummer of All Time by Modern Drummer magazine.
Buddy Rich rose to fame in the 1940s and 1950s playing with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, where he met his lifelong friend Frank Sinatra. During his storied career, Rich toured the world, performing for fans and world leaders alike, including the King of Thailand, King Hussein of Jordan, Queen Elizabeth of England, and U.S. Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.
Cathy Rich, Buddy’s daughter, has organized a yearlong tribute to her father to celebrate the Centennial of his birth in 1917. The Centennial kicked off in April at Lincoln Center with a special performance entitled, Buddy Rich Centennial: Celebrating the Jazz Drum, by The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, led by Wynton Marsalis and featured Ali Jackson on the drums.
Other events, in addition to a tour of the 16-piece Buddy Rich Band, will include the unveiling of Stars for Buddy Rich on both the Palm Springs and Las Vegas Walk of Stars, an evening celebrating Buddy Rich’s legacy and music at the Grammy Museum, and in honor of his Centennial, a flag will be flown over the U.S. Capitol on his birthday. A feature film about Buddy Rich is also in the works.
Stay Thirsty Magazine is very proud to present two videos in honor of Buddy Rich’s Centennial. Both are courtesy of the Buddy Rich estate and offer just a small window into his genius.