Bernard "Buddy" Rich (September 30, 1917 – April 2, 1987) was an American jazz drummer, songwriter, conductor, and bandleader. He is considered one of the most influential drummers of all time.
Rich was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, United States. He discovered his affinity for jazz music at a young age and began drumming at the age of two. He began playing jazz in 1937, working with acts such as Bunny Berigan, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie, and Harry James. From 1942 to 1944, Rich served in the U.S. Marines. From 1945 to 1948, he led the Buddy Rich Orchestra. In 1966, he recorded a big-band style arrangement of songs from West Side Story. He found lasting success in 1966 with the formation of the Buddy Rich Big Band, also billed as the Buddy Rich Band and The Big Band Machine.
Rich was known for his virtuoso technique, power, and speed. He was an advocate of the traditional grip, though he occasionally used matched grip when playing the toms. Despite his commercial success and musical talent, Rich never learned how to read sheet music, preferring to listen to drum parts and play them from memory.
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