Louie Bellson, drummer
Drummer ~ Bandleader ~ Composer
birth name: Luigi Paulino Alfredo Francesco Antonio Balassoni

Louie Bellson

July 6, 1924, Rock Falls, IL ~ February 14, 2009, Los Angeles, CA

The youngest and last of the “great three” showman-drummers in jazz, the others being Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. He was the most diversely talented of the three and, many would argue, the most musically gifted. Duke Ellington pronounced him “not only the world's greatest drummer, but also the world's greatest musician.” In addition, he had the reputation of being almost embarrassingly obliging and affable. In a business not noted for such qualities, this aspect was regularly commented on. ~ The Telegraph: Louie Bellson Obituary ~ February 16, 2009 © The Telegraph

He became famous in the 1950s for using two bass drums simultaneously, but Bellson was never a gimmicky or overly bombastic player. In addition to being able to drive a big band to exciting effect, Bellson can play very quietly with a trio and sound quite satisfied. ~ Allmusic: Louie Bellson ~ retrieved January 15, 2016 © Allmusic

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Louie Bellson had expressed himself on drums since age three. At 15, he pioneered the double bass drum set-up. At 17, he triumphed over 40,000 drummers to win the Gene Krupa drumming contest. He performed on more than 200 albums with such greats as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Woody Herman, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, James Brown, Sammy Davis, Jr, Tony Bennett, Mel Tormé, Joe Williams, Wayne Newton and Bellson’s late wife Pearl Bailey. ~ Louie Bellson: Louie Bellson ~ retrieved July 6, 2016 © Louie Bellson

Louie Bellson ~ Named one of the Rhythm 100 Most Influential Dummers in 2011 ~ A total good-guy genius. He was the first with double bass drums, two decades before Keith Moon and his drum features with Duke Ellington's orchestra are legendary. ~ 2011 © Rhythm/Musicradar

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