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Louie Bellson

One of the great drummers of all time (and one of the few whose name can be said in the same sentence with Buddy Rich), Louie Bellson has the rare ability to continually hold one's interest throughout a 15-minute solo. He became famous in the 1950s for using two bass drums simultaneously, but Bellson was never a gimmicky or overly bombastic player. In addition to being able to drive a big band to exciting effect, Bellson can play very quietly with a trio and sound quite satisfied.

Winner of a Gene Krupa talent contest while a teenager, Bellson was with the big bands of Benny Goodman (1943 and 1946), Tommy Dorsey (1947-1949), and Harry James (1950-1951) before replacing Sonny Greer with the Duke Ellington Orchestra. A talented writer, Bellson contributed "Skin Deep" and "The Hawk Talks" to Ellington's permanent repertoire. Bellson married Pearl Bailey in 1952, and the following year left Ellington to be her musical director. Bellson toured with Jazz at the Philharmonic (1954-1955), recorded many dates in the 1950s for Verve, and was with the Dorsey Brothers (1955-1956), Count Basie (1962), Duke Ellington (1965-1966), and Harry James (1966). He continued to be active, leading big bands (different ones on the East and West Coasts), putting together combos for record dates, giving clinics for younger drummers, and writing new music. Bellson has recorded extensively for Roulette (early '60s), Concord, Pablo, and Music Masters. ~ Scott Yanow
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Their Time Was The Greatest

1. Hallelujah

2. Liza

3. 24th Day

4. Brush Taps

5. Well Alright Then

6. Y-Not

7. Stix & Bones

8. Zig Zag

9. It's Those Magical Drums In You

10. Acetnam

11. Our Manne Shelly

12. All About Steve

x

Track List: Louie Bellson Honors 12 Super-Drummers - Their Time Was The Greatest!

x

Track List: I'm Shooting High

1. I'm Shooting High (Live)

2. Bombs Away (Live)

3. Blast Off (Live)

4. It's Music Time (Live)

5. Zip (Live)

6. Checkerway (Live)

7. Homer's Hang Up (Live)

8. Bewitched (Live)

9. Earl's Pad (Live)

10. Moonlight Fiesta (Live)

11. Set Break (Live)

12. Drum Foolery (Live)

x

Track List: Airmail Special: A Salute To The Big Band Masters

1. Airmail Special

2. I Think Of You

3. Don't Be That Way

4. I Can't Get Started

5. Take Me Home

6. If I Were A Bellson

7. Cherokee

8. Prelude To A Kiss

9. In Roy's Corner

10. Reach For The Sky

11. Begin The Beguine

12. Get Up And Go

x

Track List: Don't Stop Now!

1. Don't Stop Now!

2. Lover Man

3. Indian Summer

4. Cipriana

5. With Bells On

6. Darn That Dream

7. Three Ton Blues

8. Seven Come Eleven

x

Track List: Cool, Cool Blue

1. Tapooze Don (Instrumental)

2. If We Were In Love (Instrumental)

3. Wanderlust (Instrumental)

4. The Boss (Instrumental)

5. Smedley (Instrumental)

6. Cool, Cool Blue (Instrumental)

7. Long Ago (Instrumental)

8. The Third Eye (Instrumental)

x

Track List: June 28-1959 At The Flamingo Hotel Volume 1

3. Earl's Pad

4. Moonlight Fiesta

5. Set Break

6. I'm Shooting High

7. Bombs Away

8. Blast Off

9. Break Time

10. It's Music Time

11. Zip

12. Checkerway

13. Drum Foolery

x

Track List: Skin Deep

1. Percussionistically Speaking

2. A Pearl For Louie

3. Fascinating Rhythm (1954 Version)

4. Copasetic (Long Version)

5. All God's Chillun Got Rhythm

6. Skin Deep

7. Loris

8. For Europeans Only

9. Phalanges

10. Caxton Hall Swing

11. Copasetic (Short Version)

Comments

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chopp06it
Jus an awesome piece.
Report as inappropriate
Big band.......b i g sound!!
Report as inappropriate
My favorite drummer since I heard him play Skin Deep on the Ellington Uptown album. Loved the duel between Bellson and Rich on the Tonight Show courtesy of You Tube.

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