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Louie Bellson

One of the world’s greatest drummers, Louie Bellson has been an exciting crowd pleaser for over 60 years. A well-respected educator and one of the nicest people in the music business, the still-active Louie Bellson is a class act. Born Luigi Paolino Balassoni, Bellson won a nationwide Gene Krupa drum contest in 1940 and was heard by Tommy Dorsey, who was quite impressed. The drummer started at the top in 1941, playing with Benny Goodman; after serving in the military, he worked with the big bands of Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, and Harry James. His trademark was using two bass drums in his set. From the start, Bellson was able to construct fascinating solos that could hold one’s interest for as long as 15 minutes, yet he also enjoyed playing quietly with combos. Performing regularly with Duke Ellington during 1951-1953 made Bellson world-famous and he also gained good reviews for his writing, which included “Skin Deep” and “The Hawk Talks.” After marrying Pearl Bailey, he left Ellington to work as his wife’s musical director but he also performed in many different settings, including with Jazz At The Philharmonic, Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, the Dorsey Brothers Orchestra, Count Basie, and special projects with Ellington

NEWS: BIRTHDAY

Jazz Musician of the Day: Louie Bellson

Jazz Musician of the Day: Louie Bellson

All About Jazz is celebrating Louie Bellson's birthday today! One of the world’s greatest drummers, Louie Bellson has been an exciting crowd pleaser for over 60 years. A well-respected educator and one of the nicest people in the music business, the still-active Louie Bellson is a class act. Born Luigi Paolino Balassoni, Bellson won a nationwide ...

ARTICLE: SOCAL JAZZ

Darek Oleszkiewicz: Rolls-Royce Groovin'

Read "Darek Oleszkiewicz: Rolls-Royce Groovin'" reviewed by Jim Worsley

Inspiring greatness has long been the two-word association with the grand luxury of Rolls-Royce. Britain's entry into automobile finery has thus become benchmark terminology. To hear bassist Darek Oleszkiewicz interact, navigate, and improvise with today's finest jazz musicians is to understand why he has been deemed the Rolls-Royce of the modern day upright. Carrying the torch ...

NEWS: RECORDING

Master Drummer Jason Harnell Breaks New Ground With Experimental CD And Multimedia Experience, Total Harnage

Master Drummer Jason Harnell Breaks New Ground With Experimental CD And Multimedia Experience, Total Harnage

When Jason Harnell was six years old, his father, Grammy winning composer and arranger Joe Harnell, invited Louie Bellson to their house to hear the budding prodigy play. After playing a 15-minute solo, the legendary drummer handed the sticks to Jason and said, “Your turn.” When Jason finished, an impressed Bellson gave the boy his drum ...

NEWS: BIRTHDAY

Jazz Musician of the Day: Louie Bellson

Jazz Musician of the Day: Louie Bellson

All About Jazz is celebrating Louie Bellson's birthday today! One of the world’s greatest drummers, Louie Bellson has been an exciting crowd pleaser for over 60 years. A well-respected educator and one of the nicest people in the music business, the still-active Louie Bellson is a class act. Born Luigi Paolino Balassoni, Bellson won a nationwide ...

ARTICLE: SOCAL JAZZ

Dave Weckl: The Cymbal of Excellence

Read "Dave Weckl: The Cymbal of Excellence" reviewed by Jim Worsley

Attention to details and impeccable standards coupled with a desirous curiosity and a wealth of talent have served Dave Weckl well. The savvy and astute musician has meticulously traversed the jazz and fusion world over the past few decades. Weckl is on a very short list when the topic of drumming icons is broached. Perhaps best ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

Hanksgiving: Jazz Tributes to Hank Williams

Read "Hanksgiving: Jazz Tributes to Hank Williams" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu

Do you sympathize with the plight of the turkeys? Do family reunions bring you anxiety? Then forget about Thanksgiving! Mondo Jazz is here to help you switch to Hanksgiving, with two hours of Jazz tributes to the great Hank Williams, the only singer who is more American than pumpkin pie! This week we have ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Ben Paterson: Live at Van Gelder's

Read "Live at Van Gelder's" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Jazz organ trios have been with us for well over half a century now with not much change in nature or design. There are basically two explicit issues that any such band must address: has it chosen its material with care, and even more to the point, does it swing. Happily, organist Ben Paterson's tight-knit group ...

NEWS: BIRTHDAY

Jazz Musician of the Day: Louie Bellson

Jazz Musician of the Day: Louie Bellson

All About Jazz is celebrating Louie Bellson's birthday today! One of the world’s greatest drummers, Louie Bellson has been an exciting crowd pleaser for over 60 years. A well-respected educator and one of the nicest people in the music business, the still-active Louie Bellson is a class act. Born Luigi Paolino Balassoni, Bellson won a nationwide ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Introducing Phil Stewart: Melodious Drum

Read "Melodious Drum" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Cellar Live Records continues its run of admirable mainstream albums with Melodious Drum, Canadian-born and New York City-based Phil Stewart's debut as leader of his own groups, which range from trio to sextet. It's an interesting title, as Stewart's drums may be congenial but aren't melodious in the manner of, say, Jeff Hamilton, Ed Thigpen, Shelly ...


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