Gene Krupa

My favorite jazz drummer, Gene Krupa would have been 101 years old today. In the following clip from the 1941 comedy Ball of Fire, he is performing one of my favorite tunes of the era. (The script was written by Billy Wilder & Charles Brackett; the film, also known as The Professor and the Burlesque Queen, starred Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. Stanwyck appears in this scene, but her singing voice belongs to Martha Tilton).

And below, Krupa is seen in a 1958 performance with Lionel Hampton and Chico Hamilton. (Note how smooth the transitions are. None of them even misses a beat at the handovers!)

Even more impressive: Lionel Hampton wasn’t only an expert on the drums, but also on the piano and vibraphone.

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