<Mike James Jazz™ Home page

Live recordings from Buddy Rich concerts

This page exists because of my lifelong interest in the music of Buddy Rich, and my interest in sharing the joy of that music with other musicians. Buddy was an incredible drummer and entertainer, but he also had the ability to find and manage some great players and writers. That led to Buddy having some of the best jazz bands that ever existed. For some insights into Buddy's thinking, see this great interview, at JazzProfessional.com. There used to be a site created by Cathy Rich, (Buddy's daughter) honoring Buddy, at buddyrich.com, but that site degraded over the years, and now has apparently been hacked, redirecting you to an unrelated site.

You'll find TWO indexes below:

The Concert Index lists the live concert recordings which make up most of what you'll find here. But...

The Unique Clips index includes some other great recordings you'll want to hear. Some of these are historic "moments", and some are simply fun, or interesting. The first one of these was contributed by friend and great drummer, Fred Marcin. It's an hour and 5 minutes of Buddy, speaking to the audience during intermissions and after performances at "Buddy's Place", in N.Y., from 1974. It includes some very interesting audience members and guest artists... Check it out!

The second group of three recordings is something that nearly every Buddy Rich fan has heard of.... a time when Buddy simply came out in front of the band at the Paramount Theater in New Yorl, in 1949, and played a drum solo using two bass drums... ONLY! Apprently, he never did it again after these perfomances, so they're quite rare. To contributor Scott Sibley, THANK YOU!

Tech note:

The recordings here are all MP3 and MP4 files. (44khz.) You can download the QuickTime player (free) here. Most people who can play MP3s can also play MP4s, although your internet browser may not support them. So, if you have trouble (in your browser) with the MP4 versions, try (right click) downloading the MP4s and playing them from your desktop.

Music from Buddy Rich Band Alumni

Many of Buddy's tremendous players created their own great musical projects, both before and after their experience with Buddy. I've created a separate page for Buddy Rich Alumni Projects. It's new right now, but will grow over time. Check it out. And... If you're a Buddy Rich alumni, or know how to contact any of those players, please invite them here!

Quick jump to Buddy Rich concert clips below:

Jump to "Unique Clips" index

These clips are posted in historical order, with the most recent ones at the top.
(The "quality" remarks here are in regard to the technical details, not the band's performance.)
(At the bottom of each concert set, there's a link to bring you back to this index.)

Quick Jump to "Unique Clips" below:

(Not "concerts", per se, but definitely worth hearing!)

Jump to "Concert Clips" index

Here are the recordings!

Buddy and Special Guests, at "Buddy's Place", in N.Y. - 1974 (90.5 MB)

Contributed Fred Marcin, from a a tape given to him by Stanley Kay

Notes from Fred Marcin

Stanley Kay

Stanley Kay is one of the dearest and most decent human beings on planet Earth. Anyone in the music business and outside of the music business will tell you this. And yet, can you imagine this man was Buddy Rich's drummer in the 1940's, when Buddy stepped out to sing and dance for an audience? I can't think of a more daunting prospect. And then this marvelous man managed Buddy's career very successfully later on in the 60's and 70's.

At all of twenty-three years of age, I was working at J&R Music World in 1985. Thousands of people came and went through that store, just blocks away from the now fallen World Trade Center. I sold portable electronics there. I noticed one day that my manager and friend, Jeff Richman, was giving particularly important attention to an older couple. He asked me to help ring up the sale at the end. I asked for the gentleman's name and he gently said "Stanley Kay". I stopped writing on my sales receipt and looked up.

I was standing right in front of the man. I recognized him instantaneously because he was the same guy hugging Buddy in the inside flap of my copy of "Live at Buddy's Place" album. I was in temporary shock. I mustered myself and asked him, "Are you THE Stanley Kay?" My manager, Jeff, was beginning to wonder what the hell was going on. Stanley answered, "Who is THE Stanley Kay?" I immediately replied, "Buddy Rich's longtime friend/manager and the drummer he first hired for his 1946 band." Stanley took a little step back and smiled. He said, "Yes, that's me." He was so impressed, he later told me, that some 25-year-old knew who he was, and this in 1985!

We became instant friends. Any time he stopped by the store I gave him the "red carpet" treatment. I soon later learned more about him, his travels, the "Hines Brothers" management then, and very many personal things. He even indulged me once to watch a video of my drumming. Can you imagine? This man, who was for years at the very epicenter of the World's Greatest Genius on the drums, graciously deferred to watch a video of me playing drums at a gig. And he was complimentary to me after watching it.

So he gave me a cassette tape. It contains completely miraculous examples of Buddy at the microphone at the end of a set/evening. He meets famous people. He is funny. He is verbose. He is tired. All of it captured at the sound desk on those interesting evenings in 1974 when Buddy was trying to make "Buddy's Place" a successful business venture.

If you listen very closely to this recording, you will hear many wonderful things. This recording gives you the rarest of glimpses into Buddy's 1974-era "Buddy's Place" nightly experiences. A funnier drummer you will never meet and we can thank Stanley for this unintended gift. Joni Mitchell, and her young band at the time, unexpectedly shows up to the club. Buddy handles the proceedings in as deft and funny a style as can possibly be done. It becomes another in a vast series of classic moments for those familiar with the intricacies of the entertainment industry of the time. For the uninitiated, countless nuances will be lost.

Drummers and fans of Buddy's playing, expecting to hear all of the tunes that only begin on this recording and end rather quickly and abruptly, will be sorely disappointed; in each case, once the music starts the cassette is paused. Apparently, the unintended idea behind this particular tape, no doubt doing its job every night inside of the mixing-desk located at the rear of the room, was to just capture Buddy's fantastic sign-offs to his audience on a particular evening. That Stanley, or whoever else, had the presence of mind on one particular evening to just let the tape roll while Redd Fox and legendary Scatman Cruthers dropped in and did their impromptu thing, is a genuinely lucky stroke for the comedic ages and for all of us now. As Scatman said at one point, "We'll just let the white boy do it..." referring to Buddy helping them out on the drums.

Buddy is brutally and refreshingly honest, which John Davidson will just have to try and live with today, I'm afraid. There is absolutely no pretense about Buddy's thoughts; he just lays it out there, like it or not. Who else could get away with a most sublime tongue-and-cheek and loving insult to the late great Sarah Vaughn? I don't know how many nights are covered here at Buddy's Place in New York around 1974, and yet it is quite interesting to hear how Buddy's mood changes from one night to another.

As Buddy said to his audience on one of those nights: "And so I leave you with these words of wisdom..." and then merely replaced the microphone back onto its stand and left the stage. Thank you, Mr. Kay, for inadvertently supplying us all with one of the most unique series of recorded insights into Buddy Rich's phenomenally brilliant, complicated, and quick mind.

Fred Marcin

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Concert at the "Blue Note", in New York - 12-05-86

Contributed and Recorded by Michael Spielzinger, live at the concert, on a portable stereo cassette recorder.

The recordings

Mike's comments:

Mike,

Sorry that I held onto this for so long, but I had to wait until I had the capability of preserving and processing the original recording the way I wanted, and to be able to send it out without fear of possibly losing one of my most valued possessions. Due to the size of the files I’m going to send three separate emails, otherwise I’m afraid that your server or mine will not forward the email.

I wish I knew you guys back then so I would have known that Buddy was totally cool with people openly recording him, which would have resulted in a complete recording of West Side Story instead of the attached version. The wire leading to my microphone snaked down my jacket sleeve to the cuff of my shirt, which resulted in disaster when the wire accidentally pulled out. Fortunately there is still over 8 minutes of gold to enjoy, and as I recall, the disaster occurred close to the end of the solo.

As stated in the subject line, these tracks were recorded on 12/5/86, during the second set at the Blue Note. I walked in during the middle of Keep the Customer Satisfied. Round Midnight started next, at about 11:50, after which Buddy invited someone named Mike to sit in with the band. Mike accepted and played Ya Gotta Try at a crawl, just keeping time during the drum breaks and receiving polite applause at the end. Buddy was very appreciative that there were no groans or complaints and thanked us for being such a cool audience at the end of the night. He also thanked us by playing Shawnee followed by West Side Story after Mike returned to his seat.

Listeners, please read:

While it is true that in front and to the left was the best place to watch Buddy, I was sitting directly to his left side, right next to the sax player on the end, which was a much better place to record from than in front of the bass drum! I used an Aiwa cassette recorder with its stereo microphone. The left and right elements of that microphone are about as close together as the ears of a mouse. The result is actually a binaural recording, not stereo. Accurate reproduction of a binaural sound field requires listening through headphones or earbuds. That may be inconvenient at times, but there are some definite advantages. Properly positioned, any decent set of headphones or earbuds provide sound quality equivalent to MUCH more expensive loudspeakers, and listening this way results in both sonic detail and the acoustical ambiance of the room. Close your eyes to enjoy an immersive experience that computer loudspeakers simply cannot duplicate. At the opening of Shawnee listen for Buddy tapping the time with the heel of his right foot while playing the hi hats, and in West Side Story listen for him clowning during the solo, vocally mimicking the hi hats and then the audience. The real problem with earbuds and with some headphones is that once they are well positioned it is often necessary to hold them in place while listening, otherwise a tremendous amount of sound quality is lost if either side moves out of position even a little, which can happen quite easily.

For those of you who never saw Buddy live, I’m sorry to inform you that you will never fully appreciate how great he sounded, or how visually amazing his playing was. Buddy was never recorded properly, visually or sonically. The list of directors, producers, etc., that deserved metaphorical baseball bats to the head includes just about everyone involved. Some recordings sounded like the microphones were 25 feet away, and as for the awful video coverage, it would have made as much sense to show repeated close ups of flute players while Rudolph Nureyev danced across the stage, for Buddy’s left hand constantly danced over the snare drum, and every movement of his arms and wrists was an art lesson in grace, precision, controlled power, and showmanship. His drum rolls were absolutely mesmerizing. His left stick swirled in perfect looping spirals that opened wide or closed to a tiny circle depending on the volume. At most you will catch a quick occasional glimpse of this on some of the videos.

Thanks for your great tribute website.

Regards,

Mike Spielzinger

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Concert at the "Blue Note", in New York - 12-02-86

Contributed and Recorded by Fred Marcin, live at the concert, on a Sony WMD6C portable stereo cassette recorder (now a collector's item) and an Aiwa stereo lapel microphone (not a current collector's item).

First set:

Second set:

Notes from Fred Marcin:

On a cold and rainy Tuesday evening, December 2, 1986 I traveled into downtown Manhattan, New York City, to witness the full musical magical onslaught that was Buddy Rich and his band, which was appearing at the famous Blue Note Jazz Club. Unknown to me, it was to be the last time I saw him. For those of you not familiar with that club then, you need to know it is very intimate, small, and narrow, much like a typical railroad car apartment. The band was in the middle of the club facing the east long wall, which made viewing and listening to the power of the band that much better. Just imagine this band setting up in your living room and you'll get the idea of what it was really like there that night.

As usual, at just about every New York City appearance by Buddy, his hometown, I would see and recognize all the "Buddy fans" I'd always come to see at previous gigs. We'd all greet each other knowingly, each one of us understanding the full measure of what we were in store for later that night. Getting there early enough, we'd all assemble at the nearest and best location for the concert; this particular night resulted in us all collecting ourselves at the table in front and just to the left of Buddy's drums. We were in our usual perfect location and sipping on the mandatory two drink minimum at extortionate prices. Hey, this is New York City, folks...

Then at the appointed time the band filed onstage after which the master casually appeared, all to welcome whoops and hollers. This exact moment of time also produced the requisite cue to us at the table I was sitting at as it erupted instantly into what looked like a press conference table; all of us "Buddy nuts" had pulled our variety of portable tape recorders and had positioned our mics in place before Buddy had even gotten a chance to sit down at his drums. He looked over at us then and winked and nodded appreciatively, our signal that he didn't mind us taping. (Who cared what the nightclub thought by that point?) I had come armed with a new Sony WMD6C portable stereo cassette recorder (now a collector's item) and an Aiwa stereo lapel microphone (not a current collector's item).

Why bother explaining how the evening ultimately unfolded? Listen to this fantastically intimate nightclub recording by the "All American Jazz Band" led by the greatest drummer of all time, on a set of gorgeous sounding vintage drums just ten feet away from the microphone. (Wait till you hear the beauty of these drums played by Buddy all alone; they're perfect sounding!) Forgive the occasional pops and wire-issues that you hear; it was new equipment I was learning how to use and that in a darkened nightclub. I'm so grateful I recorded Buddy and his band, four months to the day before he passed away. "The drummer wasn't bad either" made it into a concert review in the New York Post two days later.

During the break between the two sets that evening I went to the small bathroom, which was upstairs. As I was standing at my urinal I looked to my right and saw Mel Lewis standing at his. I said to him, "Can you believe what we just saw?" Mel looked at me and smiled but didn't even say a word; he just turned and looked down shaking his head in disbelief.

Enjoy!

Fred Marcin

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Concert at the "Davenport Theatre", in Stockport, England - 11-16-86

Contributed and Recorded by Kevin O'Neil live at the concert, on a "Walkman"

First set:

Second set: (with an encore!)

Notes from Kevin O'Neil:

This is an entire concert I recorded with a "Walkman". This was Buddy's last tour of England, and the band was the best I had seen him with. The lineup is the same as the show he did for Michael Parkinson earlier in the week. If you can hear laughs or gasps it is because the lead trumpet almost nailed us all the back wall. The band was shouting that night.

During "West Side Story Medley", Buddy misses a rimshot, (if only that was all we had to worry about!) and it seemed to irk him, and he went on to lay down some really intense playing. Like a lot of clips we hear, you have to "listen through" the poor audio and then really enjoy and appreciate the music. That night was a really special one to me... not just because it was the last.

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Buddy Rich in Europe - 1986

Copenhagen Jazz Festival - Copenhagen, Denmark - 07-08-86

Contributed by Kevin O'Neil

The set:

Notes from Kevin O'Neil:

These tracks are from a video, "Buddy Rich in Europe - 1986". The lineup must be the same as Buddy's last tour of England. (i.e., the "Stockport, England" concert above)

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A great concert from Washington Park, in Albany, New York - 2nd set cut short by rain
Contributed by Pete Sweeney

May 11th, 1986

Notes from Bill Peterson Just added 02-06-08

I was at this concert. There were no chairs or anything, everybody had to sit out on the lawn on blankets and such in front of the band which was up on a stage. It was an open-air concert. I got a position right in the middle. I remember there was quite a turnout, there was a good crowd there and they were really receptive. It was a pleasant day and sunny until a thunderstorm rolled in at the end. The band played well but the open-air swallowed up the sound pretty rapidly.

I was used to seeing Buddy indoors at JB Scotts right nearby - a nightclub he visited annually - and the intimacy of that place made for good concerts. Out here in the open-air in Washington Park it had a different feel and I preferred to seeing him in the club - I guess I was spoiled. As usual I tried to get Buddy's autograph but this time I couldn't get to him. But I noticed he was in a good mood and laid back, joking with someone outside his trailer during intermission. If I had to guess, I don't think he liked playing out in the open-air either and it seemed he kind of kept things subdued. But then again, maybe this was just the Buddy of later years as he started to mellow out.

By the way, if anybody has any recordings of those concerts at JB Scotts in Albany, please post them!

Notes from Mike James:

Recorded live by Pete's friend, Bud Hawn. I'm hoping to get some more comments on this performance from Pete, but one thing I can tell you is that there was a thunderstorm in the area, and so the band had to stop before finishing "Basically Blues".

From Glen Darling:
Greg Gisbert, Eric Miyashiro, Kevin Richardson, Dana Watson (tp) Tom Garling, Rick Traeger (tb) Jim Martin (b-tb) Bob Bolby, Mike Rubino (as/fl) Steve Marcus, (ts/fl) Chris Bacas (ts) Jay Craig (bar) Matt Harris (p) Rick Shaw (f-b) Buddy Rich (d).

Note: there is a guitar on the date, but none listed in Mister I Am the Band for 1986. I believe Buddy identifies Walt Namuth coming back after "a month".

He was on the Mercy, Mercy band/album in 1968. Some help here guys . . . did I hear right?

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An AMAZING concert from the 1984 JazzFest Berlin

November 3rd, 1984

Notes I got from Bob Bowlby (alto sax) and Tony Gorruso, (trumpet) who played on this recording:

Hello Mike,

A friend sent me a link to your website. I played lead alto with Buddy the last few years he was on the road until early 1987. I am on this Berlin recording, and was delighted to see it posted on the site. That was a TV show at a beautiful hall ( I think it was called Symphony Hall) with a 7 foot Bosendorfer grand piano. I have downloaded all the tracks and will email everyone who was on this.

I thought you might like the names of all the guys on this:

Saxes:

Steve Marcus-tenor 1
Mark Pinto-alto2 - Bob Bowlby-alto1 - Brian Sjoerdinga-tenor2 - Jay Craig-bari

Bones:

Mike Davis - Dave Panichi-lead - George Gesslein-bass

Trumpets:

Simon Gardner - Jazz, Tony Gorusso-lead - Dana Watson - Todd Schwartz

Bass: Dave Carpenter

Piano: Bill Cunliffe

Soloists: Iberian Fantasy

(Bill Cunliffe comp & arr.)
Dave Panichi - Flugel Bone
Tony Gorruso - Trumpet

Soloists: Mellow Tone

Simon Gardner - Trumpet

Soloists: Bondi Blues

(Dave Panichi comp & arr.)
Steve Marcus - Tenor
Bob Bowlby - Alto
Dave Panichi - Flugel Bone

Soloists: God Bless The Child

Bob Bowlby - Alto

Soloists: Night Blood

(Bill Cunliffe comp & arr.)
Dave Panichi - Flugel Bone
Mike Davis - Bone
Bob Bowlby - Alto

Soloists: All Blues / If I Were A Bell

Buddy, Bill & Dave Carpenter

Soloists: Channel One Suite

Steve Marcus - Tenor
Jay Craig - Bari
Simon Gardner - Trumpet

Soloists: One O'Clock Jump

Bill Cunliffe - piano & arranger
Steve Marcus - Tenor

Notes from Mike James:

The concert was broadcast live by SFB (Sender Freies Berlin) on TV for "Das Erste/ARD", German TV1. at the same time, SFB has also broadcast the concert as radio programme in Berlin. The source is likely FM radio braodcast, conversion or recording from TV at that time is rather unlikely. It was sent to me by a drummer friend. At first, I was reluctant to post it here, for fear that it might be a previously-published commercial product. But, I can find no evidence of that, and so am taking the chance that posting it here is legal and ethical. If any of you find otherwise, please let me know, so that I don't violate anyone's publishing rights. That certainly is not my intention. This is simply such a spectacular example of Buddy and his band that I thought all of you should hear it.

Buddy displays the genius he always possessed, coupled with his vast experience at this time. The band is in tune, in time, and playing in a completely masterful way. Having observed Buddy many times in person, I can assure you that this is a concert that Buddy was happy with... evident by the many awesome examples of his brilliant communication with his fellow musicians. This is really a "standout" concert!

In my opinion, the whole concert is a masterpiece. But one of the highlights is the trio performance of "All Blues". Here is an example of the MASTER drummer having a great time with a couple of his most trusted rhythm section players, and they play freely and intuitively throughout the piece. It simply "sparkles" with genius and musicality.

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Clips from an appearance at the "Executive Inn", in Evansville, Indiana, in 1984

Recorded live by an unknown sound man there

(*See "quality notes", below) Technically, this is the worst recording of Buddy I have.

Notes from Mike James:

I discovered this (unfortunately horrible quality) recording by accident...
In 1985, I had just left Atlantic City casinos, had just had my drums stolen, and was gigging while I recovered, with a bassist friend of mine in Evansville, Indiana. This decision was a huge stroke of luck for me, as it was in Evansville that I located the Slingerland "Radio King" drums that I still play today. Then, the local big band drummer broke his arm, which put me ("the new guy") in that band. We played often at the Executive Inn. When I showed up with my Radio Kings, the sound man recognized the similarity to Buddy's (Ludwig, at the time) drums, and told me he had recorded a Buddy Rich concert there, in 1984.

This recording is the worst one I have, but I'm sure fans would rather hear it than not. It was recorded from the sound board, onto a cheap cassette deck. It has every problem you can think of, from being the wrong speed, (which I fixed) to having a huge amount of "crosstalk", as well as some auto-gain feature that makes a very annoying noise at times. That's the condition of the original tape, so there's nothing I can really do to improve it.

Buddy and the band provide their usual excellent performance, but they do seem to be in a slightly subdued mood. The room seated about 100 people, and they seem appreciative, but I know nothing else about the concert. This is the second set of two, and the first set was not recorded, to my knowledge. Sorry it's not better, but hey... It's Buddy and the band!

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Clips from a performance at the "Beef and Boards Dinner Theater"
Indianapolis, Indiana - May 9th, 1983

Recorded live by a fan from Daytona Beach, Florida, who prefers to remain anonymous

Notes from the contributor:

This is set one, of two performed that night. The contributor didn't attend the second set, because there was a separate meal served, and therefore a separate ticket and admission. It was recorded with a handheld Sony cassette recorder with built-in microphones.

Highlights of this performance are the arrangement of "Body and Soul", which is completely different from the one recorded by Buddy, (on "Keep The Customer Satisfied") an usually-fast version of "Brush Strokes", and the arrangement of "Porgy and Bess Medley". It's nice to hear Buddy having fun with the crowd at the end of the set, in "Buddy Speaks", too.

Doug Clark was the lead trumpet player, and Buddy mentions that Keith Bishop (Bari Sax) did the arrangement of "Porgy and Bess Medley". You can hear a certain "snappiness" in Buddy and the band, that makes the music very clean and energetic. Although there are minor tape "issues" with this recording, as with any portable cassette recorder, this is a fun set, and I'm sure fans will appreciate the opportunity to hear it.

Many thanks to this contributor for taking the time to contact me, and send a CD with this music, so we can all enjoy it. Great!

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Concert at Lewisham Concert House, in London, England - 04-10-83

Originally intended for a BBC broadcast

First set:

Second set: (with an encore!)

Notes from Kevin O'Neil:

Fans of Buddy Rich will appreciate something that Kevin pointed out about the press roll section of Buddy's solo in "West Side Story Medley". If you know the music from the musical "West Side Story", then you'll clearly recognize that Buddy is playing a chorus of "I Feel Pretty".

Notes from Steve Sones - Worcester, England:

Congratulations on creating such a marvelous site containing all those recordings of Buddy Rich. I noticed that there is little explanation about the1983 concert from Lewisham. I am sure you are aware that this concert recorded by the BBC was broadcast in its entirety several months after its recording and was broadcast several years later also in its entirety. What you may not be aware of was that Buddy had collapsed at his concert on Friday in Halifax and as a result his Saturday concert in Portsmouth was cancelled. I was due to attend that concert with friends - so we went down the pub instead! The Lewisham concert was recorded on Sunday.

As you know the circumstances of Buddys British tour that year were rather extraordinary in that he opened at Ronnie Scotts Club in London only eight weeks after heart surgert. I attended the first house on his second night and along with every one else was concerned that he might be doing himself harm or worse. However he was made of different stuff to the rest of us and apart from playing a couple of slower tunes more than normal it was business as usual. The purpose of recounting this was an incident at the end of his set , a member of the audience asked Buddy how his heart was to which he replied that it was still ticking away one beat to the bar!

Once again, well done on creating such a good site I hope other concerts come out of the woodwork.

Steve Sones - Worcester England

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Clips from High Point High School concert, Maryland, November 25th, 1981

Recorded live by Fred Marcin

Notes from Fred Marcin:

At the late great age of nineteen I went with my high school chum Alan, then seventeen, to go see Buddy Rich and his band perform at High Point High School, which is in Maryland. The year was 1981. I was a fanatic about Buddy, having heard him for the first time only six years earlier. Alan was a rocker who played bass and I was taking him along to go see the "world's greatest drummer" in action. Now, at that age I was a fairly ambitious character and so I armed myself with a home cassette tape deck and two recording microphones, which were all stuffed into a small old suitcase that had Buddy's insignia carefully glued onto one of its sides by me. I knew, having recently graduated high school, that tonight's event would be sponsored by the school as part of a fund-raising event put on by the high school's band program.

We got to the location, parked in the parking lot, and swaggered toward the back entrance in an attempt to appear as though we belonged there. It worked. I came upon a young student and told him I was with the band, that we were there to record that evening's performance, and would he please direct me (the audacity!) to the orchestra pit, whereupon he gladly accommodated by leading us both to the orchestra pit, unlocking the door for us, and happily leaving. We were in, I thought! Alan and I set upon the work at hand: we opened up the suitcase, pulled up a school desk, (not believing our luck at finding one there) plugged in the tape deck, unreeled the microphone cables, and mounted the microphones on the edge of the stage, pointed at 45 degree angles facing the band plot and separated by about 25 feet, and began our wait. We hoped nobody would enter the orchestra pit and catch us.

Showtime came, I pushed the "record" button, the audience erupted enthusiastically as Buddy walked on and sat down at his drums while I checked to see that the tape was indeed turning and that the meter levels were good. Then we sat back and watched an incredible performance unfold in front of us. The band was in solid form and Buddy was in a good mood. Clearly, the band was having an "on" night. And I was pleased I was getting away with audio murder. Or so I thought.

After an incredible first set Buddy sauntered up to the front of the stage, bathed in sweat, and began his speech by thanking the audience. Alan and I were directly below him. Then he noticed us. I broke out in an immediate cold sweat as I realized we both should have walked underneath the lip of the stage to avoid being seen. It was too late...

Buddy: "What are you doing down there?"

Me: (all my orifices now beginning to pucker up) "We're watching you. You're great!"

Buddy: "Are you recording?"

Me: (blood now leaving my extremities) "Yea...."

Buddy: "You're recording?"

Me: (sheepishly) "Yeah."

Buddy: "You are?"

Me: (I'm catatonic now, my friend has now become a statue) "mm-hmm"

Buddy: "That's what you think." (Audience laughs)

Buddy: "Don't you know there's a rule against that?"

Me: (lying) "No"

Buddy: "Huh? You didn't know that? (pause) You're under arrest." (Audience laughs)

Buddy: (To the audience) "We're uh, (then motions to the side of the stage with a thumb gesture and a whistle indicating he wants us removed) we're going to take a short intermission, while we bust this kid." (Huge audience laughter)

Buddy: "We'll be back. Thank you everybody, see you soon."

The audience broke into sustained applause while the band got up to leave the stage and Alan and I contemplated what our new life in prison would be like. Within seconds I stopped the recording and told Alan to go over to one of the two microphones and pull it off the stage. I went to the other microphone. We quickly dismantled everything and put it back into the small suitcase. Any minute now I was expecting the orchestra pit door to open revealing the authorities. Some people from the audience were now leaning over to look into the pit at us. I started rambling on about how we were there from WCVT Towson State Radio, that we had permission to record, and that I didn't understand what was wrong!

Alan and I climbed out of the pit finally; forget the door! People were still looking at us. I kept up with my faked confusion and consternation (Oscar-winning performance) while we headed for the nearest exit. We opened the exit door and literally ran toward the back parking lot and my car. I looked like a cat burglar, running as quickly as I could with a suitcase underneath one arm. We both narrowly managed to steal away into the night. As I was running I thought regretfully how I was now going to miss the second half of an already incredible night of music. But we had the tape!

When I finally got home that night I listened to the tape. Did it even come out? Would it sound good? Is it possible I actually went through such a harrowing experience? It did come out. And it sounded just spectacular! I couldn't believe it. I put headphones on and evaluated the stereo imagery...It was near flawless! The balance was perfect. The band was clean and hot. There was no distortion whatsoever. And the performance was absolutely magnificent. And I had it on tape!

There are reasons, beyond my illicit efforts, why this tape is so good. First, Buddy's edition of his band then was really incredible. He had a phenomenal young bassist by the name of Wayne Pedzwatr who really lifted Buddy, his band, and the material they were performing to fresh new heights. He was a joy to watch and listen to as he interacted instrumentally with Buddy. The superb recording fidelity on this tape is a sheer stroke of good luck. Somehow I intuitively understood where to place the microphones that evening in order to capture a completely dynamic yet balanced sound from the band. Buddy's drums and cymbals are as clear as a bell yet they do not manage to cover up the band. When I hear this tape it really sounds like I remember it sounded when I was there. I think that particular quality is the truest hallmark of any live recording.

I have never profited, except from a musical vantage point, from this tape. Long live the wonderful memory of Buddy Rich.

Comment from Mike James:
Fred Marcin is a very fine drummer in Salt Lake City, UT.

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Clips from "Toad's Place", Connecticut. - August 2nd, 1981

Contributed by Ken Aldrich

Notes from Ken Aldrich:

The audio quality is bit lacking here due to a number of reasons. "Toad's Place" had a very very strict "no recording" policy and there were bouncers all over the place, I had one bouncer watching me all night because at the time the legal drinking age was 18 and I was 15 I actually had to get permission from the New Haven Police Commissioner to get Toad's to let me in! So that was a feat unto itself but me being me I just had to push it and bring in a recorder but the drawback was it had to remain hidden under the table! Too bad, because I was at the lip of the stage close enough to reach Steve Marcus! Anyway, that sort of explains the muddy bass-heavy recording of this set.

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Clips from Lake Compounce - Bristol, Ct. - 1978

Recorded live by Ken Aldrich

Notes from Ken Aldrich:

Obviously "West Side Story Medley" is the kicker in this set. Buddy looked pissed and frowned all through the concert, but he was so on top of it that night! Listen for yourself! The guy who screams at 7:30 sums it up for me as well! As soon as the guy screamed that, Buddy, without missing a beat, flipped his drumstick and faked stabbing himself with it! Talk about timing... Good God!

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Clips from a performance in New Orleans in 1978

Recorded live at "Rosie's", March 13th, 1978, by an unknown person (When I discover the source, I'll post it here.)

*NOTE: As of 07/25/06, these clips have all been updated to a higher-quality version, and "Grand Concourse" was added. Thank you, Dag Markhus!

Notes from Mike James:

The original source of these tracks is unknown. They were graciously forwarded to me by drummer friends Steve Dripps and Dag Markhus. To my knowledge, these clips are not previously published or copyrighted, and so they fit this page's requirements. If any of you know who recorded them, please let me know, so I can properly credit them.

Update 08/09/06

I've just heard from Bob Kaye ( http://www.bobkaye.com ) Bob was not only Buddy's pianist in 1978, but also wrote the composition "Grand Concourse", which became a regularly-played chart in the band. Bob continues to have a great career today.

Bob writes:
I'm pretty sure the tracks from New Orleans came from my personal tape collection. I was the pianist in the band. It was at a place called Rosie's (an ex-bordello). Later that night an 11 year old Harry Connick Jr. sat in with us. His father (D.A. at the time) sponsored the concert. The bassist in the Nice concerts (on Bob's site) was Tom Warrington. Murphy didn't join 'til September. Most of the personnel can be found at http://www.jazzicons.com/#buddy.

Thank you, Bob. I hope to hear more from you, as you recall it.
- Mike James)

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Radio broadcast from Oslo, Norway, at Chateu Neuf, the Oslo University auditorium - 1977

Contributed by drummer Erik Smith

Note from Mike James: This recording totals a little over 50 mb. I generally break these up into individual cuts, but since there's commentary, the interview with Bob Mintzer, etc., I've posted it as one continuous clip. Enjoy!

Erik's notes, regarding this performance:

Recorded by NRK (Norwegian national broadcasting)

Selections: Click here to play.

So What

Best Coast

Party Time

Interview w/ Bob Mintzer, 23 years old

Tales Of Rhoda Rat

Stella By Starlight (Trio)

Channel One Suite

..............................................................................................................

Being a Buddy Rich fan since I was around 6 years old, my big dream was to see Buddy and his band Live. Prior to this visit in 1977, Buddy had visited Norway once before, in 1970 or 71. At this time, as I am born in 1965, I obviously could not go to the concert, however for this show, my father had planned for us to attend. As fate would have it, I timed it “perfectly” by having a severe cold with fever right on the day of the concert so we had to stay home. I was really heartbroken but my father who was always very alert about good music on the radio picked up that the NRK (Norwegian National Broadcasting) recorded it and was going to broadcast the concert in two separate parts. Both nights I connected my little Philips cassette player to our old radio and recorded everything on cassette.

The recording became a huge source for inspiration as I already at 12 had decided I wanted to be a professional drummer. I practiced with the cassette, listened to it and brought it along everywhere I went. Needless to say, I wore the tape out. I still have it but its virtually unplayable.

Fortunately, I know the NRK producer of the show very well as he was also the producer for the NRK big band where I played before it was discontinued in 1991. I asked him for a copy from the archives. I got it but it was only Part 2 of the broadcast that had survived. Part one had been erased (!!) because they needed the tape for something else. However, I recently got word that a friend of mine, who attended the concert, recorded part 1 on reel tape! I will check into this and try to get it converted so you all can enjoy it.

The concert took place at the Chateu Neuf, the Oslo University auditorium. It was used for many high profile concerts during the 70 and 80´s. Its shaped as an amphitheatre and you get a very intimate view of what´s happening on stage. Seating capacity is around 1200 and it was totally sold out.

The recording quality is superb, crisp and defined, much due to the bands amazing level of dynamics and precision. The recording also captures the ambience in the room and the amazing vibe in the audience. It gives a great picture of just how Buddy and the band amazed audiences every single time.

Of all Buddy´s bands the Killer Force from this period was always my favorite. I know many BR fans feels the same. In my book, what made this edition so great, apart from B´s drumming, are the strong lead players in each section, Dave Stahl on trumpet in particular. Of course, also in this edition is Bob Mintzer on 2nd tenor sax. He is briefly interviewed between his two compositions Party Time and Tales Of Rhoda Rat. It gives a hint about what life on the road with the BR Killer Force was like. Any Buddy Rich concert would not be complete without the late, amazing Steve Marcus who plays his heart out throughout this show.

This is also my favorite Buddy Rich rhythm section with the late Barry Kiener on piano and Tom Warrington on bass. Their version of Stella By Starlight towards the end of this recording is nothing short of a jewel. I particulary loved the sound of Tom Warringtons fretless Fender Precision bass with Buddy´s band. Tom also had the ability to play really tight and precise with Buddy´s drumming and with a never ending sense of swing.

As mentioned, I could not attend this concert BUT in 1979 something happened that patched things up a little. In my hometown just outside Oslo, I was playing in an amateur big band and during a small jazz festival in my town trumpeter John Mc Neil was to perform with his quartet. And who was the bass player? You´re right, Tom Warrington! To boot they were going to have a seminar with our big band. I still remember the moment when I got to say hello to Tom and he unpacked his brown Fender P bass that I had seen on numerous record covers and photos. I also played piano and ended up playing “Ain´t Misbehavin´” in duo with Tom. We have since hooked up over the net and I made an interview with him in 2010 for the magazine Musikkpraksis about his work with Buddy.

I am very proud to share this recording with all of you Buddy Rich fans out there. I know the feeling we get when we listen to or see Buddy Rich and any of his fabolous bands are something very unique. i salute Mike James for dedicating himself to provide us with this treasure on the internet!

Enjoy!

Sincerely,

Erik Smith, Oslo, Norway

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Clips from Disneyland - Plaza Gardens - April 1976

Contributed by Chris Babbitt

Notes from Chris Babbitt:

Recorded live at Disneyland, at the "Plaza Gardens" in April 1976 - Source (below)

I recorded this sitting stage center, about 15 feet from the stage, in stereo, holding a Sony ECM-22 mike in each hand. It's tough to get a really good recording in that venue, because of the metal roof over the stage and the dance floor where I was seated. It always comes out "tinny". You'll hear some shifting on the first track, where I was adjusting the balance and levels.

Notes from Mike James

I happen to have heard the band a lot at this time, and I know exactly what was going on... This is right at the end of Buddy's time with Slingerland, just before his re-association with Ludwig. (which was in 1978) He was in his prime physical shape, tanned, aggressive, and immaculate, technique-wise, and this was the band referred to as the "Killer Force"... which It was! The band had put out three albums in rapid succession... "Roar of '74", "West Side Story '75", and "Speak No Evil", so this performance includes tunes from those, as well as some of the classic BR charts we all are familiar with.

Here you have Buddy really in the "take no prisoners" mode, explosive, to the point of being scary, live, at times. Steve Marcus is the "new kid", trying to prove to Buddy that electrified soprano sax with effects will work, when Buddy didn't think so. Yet, he's his usual sensitive and funky genius on "'Round Midnight". The crowd is really appreciative throughout, which adds to the fun.

Buddy was featuring Rick Stepton on trombone a lot, in a plunger mute, which the audience seemed to go wild for in those days. Buddy's daughter Cathy, and Beverly Getz (?) appear on this recording, to sing three words at a time on "Speak No Evil". (although I heard Cathy Rich sing a funky song called "Sophisticated Lady" too, shortly after this. They do a blues thing that's mostly excerpts from "Senator Sam", but with ad-lib trumpet backup thrown in by Lin and Greg. (even the "Bop Bop Areebop" (sp) bit) And the finale is "West Side Story Medley", which is jaw-dropping, in a way that I think you'll find unique. Buddy was in a great mood, and it shows.

So, it's dramatic, sensitive, driving, funky, etc.. a very emotional performance by the band. These are great historical masterpieces.

Thank you, Chris!

Some notes on the personnel, from Glen Darling:

Hey Mike, "Mister, I AM The Band" differs from the memories of Peter Dunne (March 1976 Disneyland concert) and Chris Babbitt (April 1976 Disneland concert). However, we are talking 30 years ago and the book is a reference source, not necessarily written by the fiery finger of God in stone.

Personnel listed for March 1976:

Dave Stahl, Dean Pratt, Ross Konikoff, Waymon Reed (tp), Rick Stepton, Clint Sharmon (tb), Dave Boyle (b-tb), Steve Marcus (ts/ss), Bob Mintzer (ts/fl), Alan Gauvin (as/ss/fl), Frank Basile (as/fl), Turk Mauro (bs), Barry Kiener (p), John Burr (f-b), Buddy Rich (d).

Sometime between April 28th and 30th, the book lists Waymon Reed as temporarily out and adds Cathy Rich and Liz Nadler for the spring tour. In the book, Dave Stahl explains that Waymon Reed had a prior commitment to work with Sarah Vaughn, who was his wife. Buddy chose not to replace him for the short time period, so the band played with only three trumpets. Stahl, Pratt and Konikoff were so powerfull, Buddy dubbed the three of them his Killer Force. The name was eventually applied to the whole band.

By the way, in case you hadn't already heard how the book got its name - When first published, the book was titled "We Don't Play Requests". "Mister, I AM The Band" is an updated version of "We Don't Play Requests".

Buddy and the band were playing Illinois Rolling Meadows High School October 27, 1982. The band was walking through a hallway toward the stage... 20-somethings in suits and and 60-something old man in a turtleneck sweater. A security guard noticed the difference and asked Buddy if he was with the band. Buddy said "Sure." But the guard was still skeptical, so he asked again, "Are you with the band?"

Buddy's response the second time? "Mister, I AM the band."

GD

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Live at Disneyland "Plaza Gardens" - March, 1976 (Two sets)

Recorded live by Peter Dunne, with a Hitachi dual-motor cassette recorder

Set One:

Set Two:

Comments from Peter Dunne:

The Place:,
First, a little background on where Buddy played that night. When Buddy came to Orange County he often played dates at Disneyland, at the Carnation "Plaza Gardens". It is a small gazebo-like turn-of-the-century structure with a stage and dance floor. Whenever big bands played there (I remember seeing Harry James there once), there was always some tables and chairs and dancers on the floor. But when the Buddy Rich Big Band played, they cleared the floor ENTIRELY and EVERYONE would sit on the floor all crowded together, and that floor was FILLED every time! NOBODY danced to this band.......they just LISTENED and were AWESTRUCK.

The Date:
Some time in March, 1976

The Band:
I'm not sure who was in the band at that time in 1976, so you'll need to refer to a historic listing for that time. I know that only 3 trumpets were there that night, as one guy had to go back to New York. I can here the name Dean Pratt announced as one of the trumpeters. Other players names I heard announced were Bob Mintzer, Barry Kiener (his 16th birthday that day!), and, of course, Steve Marcus.

The Recording:
I had watched the band play at Plaza Gardens several times in the 1970s and from different sides of the stage, so I cannot remember exactly where I was sitting when this was recorded, but I think it must have been one of the times when my brother and I sat directly in front of Buddy's drums and about 15 feet back. I used a "dual-motor" Hitachi portable cassette deck and an external microphone, so as not to pick up the noise of the recorder's motor. I'm sure Buddy saw the tape recorder, but I didn't run into the same problems Fred Marcin did, probably because Fred's setup was more involved than mine. Buddy probably laughed at my little portable unit.

To Listen For:
Buddy was in a very good mood during this performance, which is "high-energy" all the way. You'll notice Buddy's mood by his joking with the audience, but especially with his antics during the West Side Story drum solo. At the point in the solo where he begins to do his "magic" on the cymbals only (transitioning from playing just the hi-hat and then over to the cymbals), you'll hear the audience ooh and aah, then you'll suddenly hear them laughing and crying out. During this part Buddy had stood up and briefly played the cymbals and drums while standing up and also with his back to the audience and his hands behind his back. It was awesome and just drove us wild! Then, we calm down while he continues to play more on the cymbals only. When he finally crescendos on the cymbals (you know, his hands going over and under and back and forth on the cymbals) the crowd lets out a loud stunned cry, and Buddy reacted to this by suddenly stopping, pulling his sticks up to his chest and making a "scared" face, then sheepishly "slaps" once on the crash and pulls the sticks back to his chest again, which elicits another huge laugh from the audience. It was SO funny! He then resumes back to the drums for a few seconds and stops briefly one more time. During this silence you'll hear someone in the audience yell, "Go, Buddy!", but if you listen real carefully, at the same time you'll also hear Buddy say, "But seriously, folks.." and then he resumes the solo.

This was such a memorable performance for me and I am so glad I had brought a tape recorder that night, and that the original cassette tape remained in good condition for 30 years (thank you, Sony)! And I'm so very glad to finally be able to share this with other Buddy Rich fans! I know you'll all enjoy it as much as I did. You'll enjoy it best if you download it and play it all back at one time, just like that night. ENJOY

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Clips from "Scot's Inn", in Lima, Ohio, February 20, 1974

Recorded live by Mike James

Something you don't hear too often... Buddy with no bass player! (story below)

Notes from Mike James:

I post these with the latest ones at the top, and you may notice that this concert is only 10 days later than the one below, at "Mother's", in Milwaukee. I had taken a couple of weeks off the road, and when I went home, there was Buddy! This concert was recorded by me at "Scot's Inn", in Lima, Ohio. It's the second set of two, and I'm hoping to post the first set eventually. (in storage with a friend, who I haven't been able to get in touch with)

This is an interesting concert, for sure...
I knew before the concert, that Buddy's Canadian bassist, Ron Paley, had been stuck at the border for some reason, and wasn't going to make it to the gig. I also knew, as a local Musician's Union member, that they had called a friend of mine to play bass. I won't mention his name here, because it might seem offensive, but here's the story... The guy they hired was a well-known local bassist, in his late 50's, and he played in a local big band. He was a VERY laid back guy, dependable, but not "cutting edge" or "exciting". His trademark was that he always had a pipe in his mouth. (not lit, on stage, but it was his habit)

Scot's Inn was a local Ramada-ish hotel, with seating for about 250 people, and we arrived early, to find the band set up. When the band came out on stage, there was this guy, with his usual (unlit) pipe in his mouth, looking very relaxed. Well, as many of you know, there's no "break-in period" with Buddy. If you're in the band, you play the book. So, as was normal, Buddy began the concert with something like "Time Check", and we could tell that the bassist was lost after the first chorus. He tried hard, but Buddy cut him no slack, and continued on normally. During most of the first set, you could tell that this bassist was just not cutting it. Buddy did not make a big deal out of it, and continued on. But, right before the last tune of the first set, which was "Channel One Suite", Buddy calmly turned to him and said, "Look, you seem like a nice guy, but if you can't play the parts, get off my stage. (Ouch!) The bassist left the stage, Buddy had the piano turned up, and the piano player played the bass parts for "Channel One Suite", and the entire next set! I spoke with the bassist on break, and he simply said that "Buddy was right". There were apparently no hard feelings, although it must've disappointed him.

For me, as a young fan, and having just seen the explosive performance below (Milwaukee) 10 days earlier, I expected a serious tantrum from Buddy. There was none! Buddy and the band played the hell out of "Channel One Suite", and took a break.

In those days, I followed the band around a lot, and felt confident enough about my casual friendship with a couple of the guys that I went backstage during the break to talk to them. (The band's "backstage" was the bar, and Buddy had gone to a room in the hotel.) I spoke with Lin Biviano (lead trumpet) and Pat LaBarbara, (lead tenor) and they both essentially said that they weren't going to let Buddy's mood affect their playing, and intended to do their best and have a good time.

This is where some great memories were made for me...
I had taken one of my original big band charts with me, in the hope that some of Buddy's guys might give me some advice on it. We talked for a few minutes, and I then asked if they still played "Goodbye Yesterday", which I still think is one of Buddy's most beautiful charts. Lin Biviano said they hadn't played it in a while, but walked me out to the piano, pulled the piano chart out for me, and let me have a look. Then, he astounded me by offering to let me actually borrow the whole chart (all the parts), to go make a copy to study. (!) I was floored, and (guessing that Buddy wouldn't be pleased) kindly refused the offer. I thought Buddy might kill me if he found me with one of his charts. Anyway, it was very kind of Lin to take any time at all with me, as a 19 year old arranger, and I will never forget that.

So...
The break ends, and Buddy returns to the stage with the band, looking like he's in a great mood, and played the entire set as though everything was normal. I'm sure the keyboard player was sweating, but the show did indeed go on, with a LOT of energy. Lin Biviano killed us, on "Something", when he screeched into the stratosphere during the intro, and never let up. His solo microphone was right in front of our table, and he was LOUD! There's also a chart of the theme from "Rocky and Bullwinkle", which I've not heard recorded... cute, and high-energy. There are some more funny moments in this set, with a guy in the audience, which I leave for you to find. There's a small "gag" in "In a Mellow Tone", where the trombone players sing harmony! Always something new with Buddy's bands, which made it interesting.

Much to my surprise, the third chart they played was "Goodbye Yesterday", and Lin looked over at me like "There you go!" I thought that was a beautiful gesture.

Buddy and the band finished the set with "West Side Story Medley", and Buddy gave his usual outstanding performance. After speaking to us briefly, he said "Good night", and that was it. Simply the best band around, carrying on, regardless of the circumstances.

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Clips from "Mother's" nightclub, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin., February 10, 1974

Recorded live by Mike James

Notes from Mike James:

I was 19 years old, a drummer on the road, and drove from Green Bay to Milwaukee on my day off to hear the band. A bunch of us stood outside in line for almost 3 hours, in the snow, to be sure of getting a decent seat. I positioned myself in the front row, approximately 10 feet in front of and slightly to the left of Buddy. I placed my little Sony tape recorder on the table, in full view of Buddy, and when I made eye contact with him, pointed to it, so he would know I was taping. He nodded, winked, and acted like "Who cares?". (So, this is not a "secret" recording.)

There were several guys sitting near me who were hearing and seeing Buddy for the first time, and you can hear from their remarks that they were simply hysterical. That's a typical reaction to Buddy's bands at the time, because the band was so tight and powerful, it was actually kind of scary at times. Referring to Buddy's very powerful bass drum sound on this recording, you can hear one of them scream, "i can FEEL IT!". We were all completely "inside" the music by this point.

This was the second set, and it begins with a bang, with "Nutville", and launches immediately into "Preach and Teach". During these first two tunes, Buddy begins to get irritated with the bass player, (I don't know his name) and starts yelling at the guy...things like, "Come on! Get it together! Whadda ya think this is...a ******* circus?!, etc..

Buddy then called "Here's That Rainy Day", and jokes for a moment with Greg Hopkins, and the tune seems to go ok. But...

Buddy seems tense and excited after this one, and calls "Straight, No Chaser". He was so angry at the bass player that, during the first few bars, he screams, and bites down on his left drumstick! I think you can tell by his playing that Buddy was angry for the rest of the tune.

Next he begins playing the cymbal "intro" to "West Side Story Medley", but then changes his mind when he hears that there are 20 minutes left to go in the planned set, and says to the band "Do "Wave"...He (the bass player) oughta be able to get through that...MAYBE." "Wave" goes ok, but Buddy is still unhappy. By the time it's over, he's angry again, and launches immediately into "West Side Story medley".

On this particular night, Pat LaBarbara couldn't make it, because his wife was ill, and I believe it was Bob Crea filling his slot. Anyway, Bob blew the "stop time" section in the early part of the medley, and this put Buddy over the edge. He cut off the band at the optional "Somewhere" cue, and proceeded to play about 10 minutes of ANGRY (but technically amazing) drums. During the first 10 seconds or so of his solo, the audience starts to cheer, and Buddy yells out "Ah, SHUT UP!". A few "boo", but most of us just shut up.

At one point in his drum solo, Buddy calmed down, and began a very light rolling pattern on the hi-hat. But as fate would have it, some hippie in the back chose this moment to stand up and yell out "GET IT ON!". Well...first Buddy stopped what he was doing, slammed his bass drum, and flipped the guy the bird, (hence the laughter) Then he DID "get it on" as only Buddy could, calmed down again, and ended in his usual spectacular blazing fashion. After the standing ovation, he joked with the audience for a few minutes, then said ""Good Night".

As a member of that audience, and in particular as a drummer, I have to tell you that these were, in an odd way, extremely gratifying performances, BECAUSE of their emotional depth. With the combination of the music itself, and Buddy's expressiveness, we left the concert having experienced joy, anger, sadness, happiness, musical integrity, chops, creativity, and on and on. More emotional content than you get at most musical performances, and the very volatile nature of them is what makes them so unforgettable. I am eternally grateful for what Buddy gave us... 200%, all the time.

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Clips from the Civic Center, Columbus, Ohio,in 1971

Recorded live by a local sound company, on a (4-channel) Teac 3340. I've provided both MP3 and MP4 versions of this one, since the MP4's are higher quality, but not playable by everyone.

First set:

Second set: (with THREE encores!)

Notes from Mike James:

You're gonna like this one, regardless of a few technical glitches!
I was playing on the road with a band that appeared at the Hilton in Columbus, Ohio, in 1976, and stumbled into a cool-looking stereo store to check out some speakers. While in the stereo room, I noticed a 10-inch reel on the shelf labeled "Buddy Rich, 1973". I grabbed the salesperson and asked what it was. He told me that in mid 1973, Buddy Rich had appeared at the Civic Center, and that this store had provided the sound. The concert was recorded by them on a 4-channel Teac 3340 reel-to-reel tape recorder. They weren't selling the tape, but I convinced them to let me make a copy onto cassette. I've held onto it for all these years, but since it's never surfaced in any other form, I assume it's safe for me to post it now.

There are some pretty normal recording "glitches" for this kind of thing...
The sound man is late turning on the recorder in a couple of places, and there are several momentary spots where the tape "snagged" in the recorder, messing up the sound. But overall, it's a very good recording.

This is two complete sets of Buddy and his band, in a sparkling performance! It's obvious that Buddy and the band are happy and swinging hard. Assorted highlights, aside from Buddy's own genius, are several featured solos by guitarist Jimmy Bruno, (smokin'!) Pat LaBarbara on tenor, and an especially-funky rendition of "Paul's tune", which first appeared on the "Different Drummer" album. During several tunes, Lin Biviano is either playing tambourine or leading the trumpet section in rhythmic clapping during the solos. Between tunes, you can hear Buddy and the band commenting on how individuals sound great, etc.. It's a good one! Enjoy!

I was alerted that this concert was from 1971, based on the personnel. When I found the tape, (above) it was labeled "1973".

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Clips from Bowling Green University, in Ohio, April 15th, 1973

Recorded live by Mike James

Notes from Mike James:

This recording was made by me, while still in my senior year of high school. It was made with a very early Sony "dictaphone" type of cassette recorder, and the quality is pretty bad. However, like all of Buddy's performances, the important spirit of the thing is quite clear.

Two school buddies of mine and I arrived at the University around 3pm, for a clinic that Buddy was doing at 4pm. The clinic was great, done in an informal and entertaining way. Buddy was in a great mood, and joked with the 300 or so drummers that showed up, and of course, amazed us with his command of the drums. I didn't record this, because I was saving the batteries for the performance later.

Buddy let the band stretch... There's an extended intro to "Basically Blues", where the trumpet section takes turns playing solos, and a similar "bone battle" on "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey".

The performance that night was fabulous. Buddy was in a great mood, loose, and obviously pleased with the band. The set here is the second of two. I apologize for the "glitch" in "West Side Story medley", but I wasn't sure I'd have enough tape, if I didn't turn it over, (and switch batteries) so that's why there's a little piece missing.

The reason you can't hear the band very well at the end of "West Side Story" is that 2500 of us spontaneously stood up and screamed in ecstasy.

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Clips from St. Norbert's College - De Pere, Wisconsin - April 22, 1971

Contributed by Brian Wood

Notes from Brian Wood:

Recorded live at St. Norbert's College, in 1971 - Source Unknown, but it's a great live recording

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A great concert from the Famous Ballroom, Baltimore, Maryland (Three sets!)
A performance in support of the Left Bank Jazz Society
Contributed by Pete Sweeney

June 14th, 1970

Second set:

Third set:

Notes from Mike James:

Recorded live by Pete's friend, Bud Hawn. I'm hoping to get more info on this concert, and will post it here when I do. Enjoy!

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Clips from "The Chez", Los Angeles - February 1967

Contributed by Chris Babbitt

Notes from Chris Babbitt:

Recorded live at the "The Chez" on March 3rd, 1967 - Source (below)

This is two sets from the same engagement where the "Big Swing Face" album was recorded, only it was a few days later. It was recorded by a friend of mine on a Uher portable mono reel-to-reel deck, smuggled into the club in his wife's rather large handbag. Two nights previous to this, I was able to hear the band during the actual (album) recording. The first night, my two friends and I talked our way into the recording truck, because we were under age and couldn't get into the club. So, we listened to the band live off the monitors and watched on closed circuit TV. The band came back to the truck during breaks to listen to playbacks. The following night I convinced my dad to take me back, so that we could go into the club. If you listen to "Monitor Theme" on the "Big Swing Face" CD, that's me yelling "YEAH" right at the end of the piece.

Notes from Mike James

Any true fan of Buddy Rich and his bands will appreciate the historical significance of this recording. It lets us catch a glimpse of Buddy's new band during a great time period, when he was setting a whole new standard for what "kicking ass" was, and it's thrilling to listen to. Thank you, Chris!

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