Close up of a keyboard.

Buddy Rich in Concert

Buddy Rich playing the drums.It would be around the late ‘70s that I saw Buddy Rich and his Big Band perform at a venue in Manchester, thanks to a trip organized by my friend’s father who, being a drummer himself, had a natural interest in seeing a man reputed to be the world’s greatest drummer. I myself was more interested in the trumpet section and, like many young trumpeters, was particularly interested in how high these guys could play.

The concert venue wasn’t too big, so although my seat was some distance from the front I still had a reasonable view of the band, and the sound balance I recall as being very good.

Rich’s drumming was impressive, even for someone not particularly interested in drumming, and the band was very tight. But the thing I remember most about the show was Buddy Rich’s big band interpretation of Joe Zawinul's Birdland. I’d first heard a recording of Rich playing this on the BBC Radio Show ‘Sounds of Jazz’, and was astounded at how the lead trumpet took the music up an octave at the end, repeatedly hitting ‘Super As’. As the end of the piece approached at the show in Manchester I only had one thing on my mind: would they – and could they – do the same thing live? I was not disappointed. Not only did the lead trumpet go up the octave, his sound was so powerful that I could hear his ‘Super As’ above the sound of the PA. In other words the sound that I was hearing was perhaps 40 percent from the sound system and 60 percent original trumpet tone. It was incredible.


The Bb trumpet part for the ending of Birdland.

I should explain for non-trumpet players that a 'Super A' is a 6th above the top note of the standard range of a trumpet. Getting a ‘Super A’ is hard enough, being able to play it loud is harder still, and being able to repeatedly hit the note live in concert, at the end of a gig, is truly remarkable.

Musical notation of the standard range of a Bb trumpet.

The range of a Bb trumpet.

Nowadays with YouTube it’s easy to see virtuoso performances that have been recorded for posterity and somehow found their way onto the Internet, but in the days before the the World Wide Web it was rare to be able to witness first hand such a high level of playing that has the power to both thrills and inspires musicians young and old.



Just arrived on this site:

Jan. 30, 2018. Turntables are making a comeback, with many on the market to choose from. This month's article, Choosing a Turntable, can helps you make the right choice.

Dec. 30, 2017. This month I've updated the article Harry Beckett in Concert.

Nov. 27, 2017. After evaluating the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 2nd Generation USB Interface for several months, I can now post this in-depth review.

Oct. 30, 2017. The KORG SV-1 Keyboard Image Gallery has been updated this month with a brief description added to each photograph.

Sept. 25, 2017. This month sees the addition of a new piece of music - Heaven's Door.

Aug. 29, 2017. This month I've added a small selection of old photographs to a new page entitled Gallery - Archive.

July 26, 2017. The question I attempt to answer this month is Why Pay For Music? Leaving aside the legal argument there is much more to consider. Read the article to find out more.

June 28, 2017. This month features an article on how to make DIY Acoustic Panels that don't need attaching to a wall with screws or glue.

May 29, 2017. New this month is a selection of six Royalty Free Radio Jingles.

April 30, 2017. After a half-year break from adding new material to this site, I've added an article / review on Headphone Holders.

Jan. ~ Mar. 2017. New posts coming soon.


Sometime Somewhere...


A relaxing Smooth Jazz CD. Listen to extracts of all 12 tracks now.


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