Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Article: Buddy Rich: Drums, speed, and drive

Buddy Rich: Drums, speed, and drive - MGLeatherWork

Buddy Rich: Drums, speed, and drive

MG Leather Work Drumsticks bag

American jazz drummer and bandleader known for his charismatic stage presence, Buddy Rich, is considered one of the most influential performers of all time. In this article, we are going to delve into key moments of his biography and musical career.

Buddy Rich’s Early Years

Born on September 30, 1917, in Brooklyn, New York, into the family of American vaudevillians, Buddy Rich began his career at a very young age. He participated in his parents' vaudeville acts and during breaks tried to get the drumsticks in the orchestra pit. Actually, at the age of two, he was already drumming, displaying his talents. At the age of four, Buddy played "The Stars and Stripes Forever" on Broadway. As soon as he appeared mature enough to sit behind a drum set, he frequently slipped into jazz clubs. 

Buddy Rich as a child

Buddy Rich’s Musical Career

Rich started playing jazz in 1937, firstly performing with Joe Marsala's combo and Bunny Berigan's orchestra, and later becoming the rhythmic inspiration for Artie Shaw, Count Basie, Harry James. In 1939, Rich joined Tommy Dorsey's band and played there until 1942, when he started playing in the U.S. Marines Corps orchestra. There he continued to refine his skills as a drummer and drew public attention by his dynamic performance style.

Buddy Rich with a sousaphone

The great success came to him during the years 1967–1974 when he was a leader of a band, consisting of 16 young musicians. He toured with this band, and apart from this activity, he also led a few short-lived big bands, and often performed as a soloist on television. Together with bands, he played in clubs, high schools, and colleges.

Rich appeared as a sideman and drummer on other musicians’ recordings. He was also lucky to collaborate with great talents such as Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, the Oscar Peterson trio, and others. Buddy delivered a big-band rendition of a medley from West Side Story, featured on the album “Swingin' New Big Band”. This arrangement proved Rich's ability to seamlessly integrate drumming within the ensemble. Also, Buddy was a frequent guest on TV shows where he displayed his talents and skills, as well as participated in drum battles, popularizing the genre among a wide audience.

Buddy Rich with Frank Sinatra and Dizzy Gillespie

Buddy Rich’s Style

Rich was associated with fast, powerful and technically brilliant playing. He preferred a traditional grip, but also used a matched grip when playing toms. His performances were full of rapid drum rolls and complex rhythms that made the audience hold breath. Technical prowess is just one glimpse of Rich’s larger-than-life personality. Because of his fiery temperament, he gained the reputation as the "World's Greatest Drummer."

Buddy Rich's fast drumming


Buddy Rich extensively played concerts and toured until his death on April 2, 1987. He started having heart troubles in 1983, but continued to devote himself wholeheartedly to music, despite all difficulties.

Buddy released a number of noticeable releases. "The Roar of '74" featured his big band in full swing, while at the album "Buddy Rich Just Sings", the musician demonstrated his vocal skills alongside drumming, and at "Swingin' New Big Band" listeners can enjoy Rich's big band live performance full of swing and jazz standards.

Buddy Rich Drums, speed, and drive

Final Word

Buddy Rich was a talented drummer, showman, and bandleader.  Even after his passing, he remains one of the most influential figures in the history of jazz drumming and the most gifted musician of the swing era. Rich's technique and precision influenced many musicians across a variety of genres, from jazz to rock.

Buddy Rich Biography, Fact from life, Musical Career
Thank you for reading our article dedicated to Buddy Rich. An interesting fact: he used leather bags to carry his drumsticks. On our website, you can find excellent leather drumstick bags in various sizes, including both compact and large models, as well as covers for two sticks. Visit this link to explore our products more closely. Currently, we are offering an automatic 10% discount on all products and free personalization.
Drumsticks Large Bag

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Read more

How to choose a leather trumpet case, bag. Tips and complete guide. - MGLeatherWork

How to choose a leather trumpet case, bag. Tips and complete guide.

For musicians who constantly move from home to rehearsals and concert venues, it’s important to consider a reliable and portable trumpet case that would protect the instrument from shocks and dent...

Read more
Double bassist Ron Carter: Brief biography, career, legacy. - MGLeatherWork

Double bassist Ron Carter: Brief biography, career, legacy.

  Ron Carter: Bass lines defining jazz Ron Carter is a well-known American jazz double bassist with a career of over six decades, many concerts and recordings with jazz legends. The musician is co...

Read more

Visit MG Leather Work today to purchase these exquisite leather gifts for musicians

Discover the finest selection of natural leather goods tailored for musicians at MG Leather Work. Our premium leather bags and cases are crafted to provide both style and protection for your musical instruments. Whether you're a guitarist looking for a durable leather guitar bag or a musician seeking stylish accessories, our collection offers a range of exclusive leather products perfect for any musical endeavor.

Explore our website and find the ideal leather accessory, from high-quality leather bags for musicians to exclusive covers for musical instruments. Each piece is designed with the artist in mind, combining functionality with elegance. MG Leather Work products are not only practical but also make exceptional gifts for musicians, adding a touch of luxury to their musical journey.

Visit MG Leather Work today to purchase these exquisite leather gifts for musicians. Enhance your musical experience with our bespoke leather cases and bags that promise durability and style. Perfect for any occasion, our leather goods serve as a thoughtful and luxurious gift for any musician.