Sunday, March 16, 2008

Not for me, not for you

You know how it goes... every so often you find somebody whose skill and talent is so beyond anything you could have imagined that it amazes you to no end. For some reason I decided to look up drum solos, and I discovered the life and art of Bernard "Buddy" Rich.


Beyond anything that I could have imagined falls short. He used to get almost 1000 beats per minute, which translates to 8 interlaced beats per second per hand. And not just something boring or uneventful, no no no... rather, full detail at that speed. Don't believe that's possible? Check out the links below, and prepare for your jaw dropping to the floor.

A fantastic solo played in his mid sixties, part 1 and part 2...

At the Hague, age 61...

Playing through a heart attack that nearly killed him... (with some explanation)

Another solo from 1970, even faster... (complete version)

Playing upside down...

There are also youtube videos that play him at half speed, and even then it's amazingly fast and yet precise.

I can't help thinking about what this guy used to do in terms of the pattern of perception, and then it's even more amazing. And... well, it's also incredibly unfair that a life dedicated to making such performances possible is compressed down to video clips just a bare handful of minutes long. So, congratulations to you, Buddy Rich. To you, and the endless hours, days, months and years that you spent perfecting your technique so you could put it to the service of communication through music for us to enjoy after you are gone. Cheers!

PS: do you realize that, even with NTSC's almost 60 frames (fields) per second, there are less than 4 frames (fields) available to record each beat at 16 beats per second?

PS2: here's a video of Buddy explaining why he uses the traditional grip.

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