Two bass drums and a stool


In keeping with our theme I’ll add a quick, consecutive Buddy Rich post. Few of you may know that even the great Buddy Rich used a double bass kit for a performance he did in 1949 at the Paramount in New York. It’s quite impressive for a drummer who favored a single bass. While listening to the piece you can clearly hear that Buddy approached the solo as if he was tap dancing. According to Mel Torme’,

When I got off the elevator on the top floor (at the NY Paramount) backstage the (Buddy Rich) band was already setting up. I noticed some extra bass drum cases as I walked up to say hello to the maestro. ‘What’s with all the bass drums?’ I asked ‘B’ by way of greeting. He growled, ‘F—ing Louie Bellson better learn to play one bass drum before he tries two!’ I knew he did not mean to disparage Bellson, one of the sweetest human beings in the music business and a close friend of Buddy’s. Rich was merely exercising his prerogative as the world’s greatest drummer to comment on the fact that, if anyone was going to play twin bass drums, the right was his as the feudal lord of percussion. (Later) Just prior to my entrance onstage, Buddy uncorked an arrangement of ‘Old Man River’…In the middle of the chart, Buddy made his way down to center stage. Awaiting him were two bass drums and a stool. Nothing else.”

You can hear an audio clip of the historic performance at


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