Gene Krupa

Picture of Gene Krupa

Gene Krupa was a fantastic bandleader and composer, but he is most remembered for his energetic drumming style.  His solos were simply legendary. Krupa is also considered "the founding father of the modern drum set".

Krupa broke into the Chicago music scene around 1927.  In his early years Gene appeared on recordings by Eddie Condon, Bix Beiderbecke and Thelma Terry.   In December 1934, he joined Benny Goodman's band, where his drum work made him a national celebrity. His tom-tom interludes on the hit "Sing, Sing, Sing" were the first extended drum solos to be recorded commercially.

Krupa decided to leave Goodman's band shortly after the famous Carnegie Hall concert in January 1938 to form his own band.  The band was a complete success and recorded a boatload of hits in the early 1940's.

Watch: Gene Krupa and His Orchestra play "Drum Boogie.  This version is from the 1941 movie "Ball of Fire". The female vocalist in this clip is actress Barbara Stanwyck, whose singing was dubbed by Martha Tilton.

In 1943, Krupa was arrested on drug charges which resulted in a short jail sentence and bad publicity. Krupa broke up the orchestra and returned to Goodman's band for a few months moved on to Tommy Dorsey's band for a short time before putting together his next orchestra.

Through the 1950's and 60's, Krupa continued to perform and even had some roles in Hollywood. His drum battles with Buddy Rich were outstanding and the two recorded a couple of albums together.

You can hear Gene Krupa and His Orchestra right here on Swing City Radio.

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