Freddie Gruber 1947: Between a Belgian Percussionist and Buddy Rich


Freddie Gruber

SKF NOTEFreddie Gruber background material was scarce in the early 1980s when I was preparing to interview him. I don’t remember any recordings with Freddie on drums available. Most of my background information came from drummers who knew Freddie, Freddie himself, and from the rare mention of Freddie in old music magazines.

Here is a 1947 Metronome portrait of Freddie by one of my favorite jazz writers, Barry Ulanov.

“His beat is steady. He keeps it so with his right foot. With his hands and the sticks in them he divides the beat, subdivides it, multiplies it in an arithmetical and geometric progression. The result is something like a cross between a Belgian percussionist and Buddy Rich, with overtones of the music of Edgar Varese, that astonishing composer for the drums. It’s a handsome amalgam of all the great schools of percussion: primitive, sophisticated, old, modern and it jumps.

“We’ve heard where the jazz trumpet can go of the future and others, we’ve heard new tenor and alto and piano and trombones. Now we’ve heard — a few of us anyway — where the drums and jazz rhythms of the future must go. And speaking for myself, I’ve heard the first drum soloist who not only kept my interest, but brought me back yelling for more.”

Source: The Shapes of Drums to Come, by Barry Ulanov, Metronome 1947


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2 Responses to Freddie Gruber 1947: Between a Belgian Percussionist and Buddy Rich

  1. Pingback: What Freddie Gruber Made Clear | Scott K Fish

  2. Pingback: Freddie Gruber Has No Recordings; How Do We Know He Can Teach? | Scott K Fish

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