(Book). Now back in print, this bestseller by Mel Torme is a brilliant biography of his friend of forty years, Buddy Rich, who was one of the most famous drummers of the Swing Era, having starred in the Artie Shaw and Tommy Dorsey bands. His career started when he was two years old in his parents' Vaudeville act, and by the time he was four he was the highest paid child performer in the world. The Buddy Rich story is a fascinating one, as much for what it says about the world of American music and entertainment as for the remarkable life it portrays. Drawing from interviews and many personal reminiscences, Torme packs this biography with vivid, often funny, anecdotes. His personal touch and his in-depth knowledge of jazz make for a moving, insightful, and often hilarious biography. 233 pages, 6-1/2 x 9-1/2 Softcover
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From Kirkus Reviews:
About the Author:
Mel Torme is a world renowned jazz singer/musician, and is the author of five books, including The Other Side of the Rainbow.
From jazz singer Torm‚ (It Wasn't All Velvet, 1988, etc.)--an engaging warts-and-all life of the world's greatest drummer, Buddy Rich. A life of Rich has its problems, particularly his terrible mouth, which stripped flesh from bone without a second's notice and for next to no reason. At 18 months, Rich joined his parents on the vaudeville stage as a wonderchild of the drums. Soon ``Traps'' was a featured act, at last getting top billing wherever he played. Completely lacking a formal education, Rich spent his whole life on the road. An adulated jazz drummer who drew shouting audiences to their feet daily and became the featured soloist of famed swing bands led by Harry James, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, etc., the performer lived an emotionally surreal life. On top of this, though he didn't drink (it would have ruined his timing), he smoked pot daily from age 18 onward. As with heavy dope-smoker Bob Marley, Torm‚ wonders whether pot contributed to the brain tumors that finally killed Rich. In some ways, the drummer's greatest successes were with others' big bands. His own big band (first underwritten by fellow Dorseyite Frank Sinatra) folded time and time again. Rich made many movies and became a regular on The Tonight Show, his acerbic barbs delighting drum-lover Johnny Carson. But he lost friend after friend, his vitriol scarring all without reservation, though he mellowed late in life when the birth of a grandchild somehow freed him to love himself through the baby. Otherwise, he seemed entirely without feeling, until one day he dragged Torm‚ to see his favorite film, Norma Shearer's Smilin' Through. Torm‚ got MGM to put the movie on videocassette as a present for Rich, but Rich alienated Torm‚ by vilely insulting him at the very moment the present was given. Exceptional on music biz and drum techniques while humanizing an emotional monster. A labor of love. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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