Wow...It's a sad sad news..He's one of my favorite drummers of all time. Thanks for sharing Mark..
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From what I can gather, Louie evidently fractured his hip in a fall around Nov 6, 2008. he was convalescing, and going through rehabilitation when he died suddenly, and unexpected.
Louie had some similar ties to me, a Roy C Knapp Student, which my old drum teacher Phil Stanger was, as well as many other notararies, such as Gene Krupa, and William F Ludwig II. Countless others learned from Roy, such as Ed Shaugnessy (Doc Severinson Band) Baby Dodds, Ben Pollack, etc.
Roy was "The Dean of Drums", and one of the founding fathers of the NARD. I took my NARD test from Roy in July 1968, and "luckily" passed first time out.
Roy was a tough old bird, took no crap, and expected nothing less than excellence.
Louie used to come from western Illinois (Moline?) every week to take a lesson from Roy. His style exemplified the old school jazz that Roy knew only too well. Roy would sit there, Stogie in mouth, never lit, and would critque your playing. If you did good, he wouldn;t utter a word, but screw up, you would know about it.
My mother witnessed Louie's marriage to Pearl Bailey in London, UK many many years ago.
I luckily got to see Louie pay a clinic at Frank's Drum Shop in Chicago arounf 1974-1975. He had just come back from Africa, playing some melodic african style percussion.
He was truly the Percussionist, loving to use Brushes, Stick-Brushes, Jingle Sticks, and never neglected any one drum, or cymbal.
A wonderful tape to see Louis at his best, was a Drum Solo from 1967, and the Tape was called Drum Solos, and Drum Battles. Some great footage as well with Buddy Rich, battling great like Ed Shaugnessy, solos by Joe Morello, Gene Krupa, etc.
Once you see this tape, one comes to realize, that in his prime, Louie had little peer, even from greats like Buddy Rich. Mark
It's a sheerest coincidence that I've experienced the day that Louie Bellson died. On that evening of Valentine day , February 14 last week, I pulled out one of my favorite Louie's CDs and listened to it (Louie Bellson Quartet,Live at Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase -Concord Record). Thought I share that with Audiogon's audience.
My taste in jazz is pretty conservative, so there are very few "fusion" albums I like. Bellson is notable to me because he not only anchored some great traditional jazz that's right up my alley, but he also did that great James Brown big band recording, called (I believe) "Soul On Top". Great stuff from a guy who actually covered a lot of musical ground and covered it all really well.