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Gene Krupa

Gene Krupa (January 15, 1909 – October 16, 1973) was an American jazz drummer, band leader, actor, and composer known for his energetic style and showmanship. His drum solo on "Sing, Sing, Sing" (1937) elevated the role of the drummer from an accompanying line to an important solo voice in the band.

In collaboration with the Slingerland drum and Zildjian cymbal manufacturers, he was a major force in defining the standard band drummer's kit. Krupa is considered "the founding father of the modern drumset" by Modern Drummer magazine.

Krupa made his first recordings in 1927 with a band under the leadership of Red McKenzie and guitarist Eddie Condon. Along with other recordings by musicians from the Chicago jazz scene, such as Bix Beiderbecke, these recordings are examples of Chicago style jazz. Krupa's influences during this time included Father Ildefonse Rapp and Roy Knapp (both teachers of his), and drummers Tubby Hall, Zutty Singleton and Baby Dodds. Press rolls were a fairly common technique in the early stages of his development. There were many other drummers (Ray Bauduc, Chick Webb, George Wettling, Dave Tough) who influenced his approach to drumming and other instrumentalists and composers such as Frederick Delius who influenced his approach to music.

Krupa appeared on six recordings by the Thelma Terry band in 1928. 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[5] But conflict with Goodman prompted him to leave the group and form his own orchestra shortly after the Carnegie Hall concert in January 1938. He appeared in the 1941 film Ball of Fire in which he and his band performed an extended version of the hit "Drum Boogie", sung by Barbara Stanwyck (whose singing was dubbed by Martha Tilton). He composed the song with trumpeter Roy Eldridge. As an encore, he played a tamer version of the same song using matchsticks as drumsticks and a matchbox as a drum while Stanwyck and the audience sang along. In 1943, after being arrested for possession of marijuana, he broke up the orchestra and returned to Goodman's band for a year.

As the 1940s ended, Count Basie closed his band and Woody Herman reduced his to an octet. Krupa gradually cut down the size of his band in the late 1940s, and from 1951 on he led a trio or quartet, often with Eddie Shu on tenor sax, clarinet, and harmonica. He appeared regularly in the Jazz at the Philharmonic concerts. He made a cameo appearance in the 1946 film The Best Years of Our Lives. His athletic drumming style, timing methods, and cymbal technique evolved during this decade to adapt to changing fashion, but he never adjusted to the bebop style of jazz.

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Listen to Gene Krupa on Swing City Radio.  We are a Big Band Radio Station playing a wide selection of Big Band and Swing music.

Swing City Radio plays Gene Krupa - Listen to our station and hear the songs:
Rockin' Chair
Ball of Fire
Apurksody
I Hear Music
Wire Brush Stomp
Birth of Passion
Thanks For The Boogie Ride
“Murder” He Says
Massachusetts
It All Comes Back To Me Now
Drum Boogie
Let Me Off Uptown
High On A Windy Hill
You Taught Me To Love Again

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