JSngry

Buddy Rich Big Band

110 posts in this topic

Prompted by the recent heavy rotation of the new NO FUNNY HATS disc on KNTU...

I mean, it's all tighter (in both ways) than shit and it "swings" more than it swings, if you know what I mean, but then again...

I started my jazz life loving it, then hating it, then just ignoring it, and now...

It seems that for better or worse, it was a perfect vehicle for the human twisto known as Buddy Rich, and was a perfect reflection of him as a person. So, hey, that makes it "right", right?

So what more do you want, other than to not have to deal with it if you don't want to?

Myself, I'll take THE NEW ONE (for what was Side One of the LP, a genuine adreneline rush if ever there was one), and leave it alone.

But still...

Such is the Buddy Richness of life, I suppose.

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Dude, I'm beginning to see some "Dan Rather-ness" creeping into your posts as of late. :huh:;)

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I'm not sure what to make of your post but I saw Buddy play many, many time as my best friend, Barry Kiener, was his pianist on and off for 10 years.

Buddy never, ever played a set when he was coasting, not at least, one that I saw. EVERY solo he played was a marvel and swinging and I believe that he just cound not put everything he had into each one. A HUGE ego, to be sure, but he did have high standards to go along with it. For what he did, and it was unique to him, he was the best. Does that make sense?

These days, I miss him.

Here is a photo of Barry and Buddy:

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I'd be interested to hear any Barry Kiener stories that you want to share, marcello.

I've heard he had an amazing photographic-type memory for recordings.

I saw him perform w/the short-lived Lin Biviano big band in the 70s. An outstanding player!

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This will be a hard post for me.

As you may know, Barry died very young ;while on the road with Buddy as a matter of fact.

He was brilliant. One of those few really brilliant people there are in the world. Could master almost anything with his acute power of consentration.

There was a time when he played in some Dixieland group as one of his many varied gigs. He immersed hinself in a study of James P, Fats, George Lewis, Pops and Jelly Rolls and came to master ( not imitate ) their styles. He came to own "The Millenburg Joys" and "Handfull Of Keys".

He did the same with his other heroes like Bill Evans, Tatum, Herbie, Sonny Clark, Carl Perkins, etc. I still measure pianists that I hear today by his standard. He really was a giant talent; exciting, funny, inventive.

Buddy, of course, loved him. It was during the times when they were together that Buddy took on more staight Trio gigs.; both with symphonies and T.V. Barry could challenge him and play WITH him as a equal.

Barry Harris, Tommy Flamagan, Mel Lewis, and Al Cohn and othersalso dug him and sought him out to play for them.

Once, when Joe Venuti was playing in Rochester, our hometown, he couln't stand that local trio he was saddled with. On opening night of a two week stand Barry and I were in the audience and on a break we said hello. Joe didn't know Barry, but he was eager for relief and invited him to sit in. After one song Joe was so happy and having fun! Barry played the rest of the night ( Joe had asked the regular pianist to take a long, long break) and Joe asked us how often he could come back to play. Barry came every night that he could and the regular pianist took another long, long, break.

I remember that Lin Biviano band ( Biviano played with Basie). it also had our great friend Joe Romano in it and Steve Smith, the drummer.

There is a whole generation of players that came up with Barry; mostly in the big bands of Rich, Ferguson, Kenton and Woody Herman. he was a influence on a lot of them and still speak of him with awe and wonder of his talent. Thank God that I have many private tapes of him in all kinds of formats.

I think it is poissible to get the two recording he made. The best is a duo recording with bassist Frank Pullara, recorded live. He also made a solo recording but it has never been released.

John Norris of Coda magazine and Sackville Records wrote a fine piece on Barry just after he passed in '86. I wish I had it so I could post it here.

If anyone else has anything to say abiut Barry Kiener, I'd like to see it here.

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marcello, thanks for sharing these memories!

found the following by Ross Konikoff here:

p.s. I played with Barry Kiener (keys) for most of my stay with the band. He was amazing. Not only could he play his ass off, he could remember what rooms everyone stayed in on any date of any year. (one of those freakish kinds of memory) We all loved him. Buddy was absolutely crazy about him. Anyway, keep up the good work with your love of music and I'm glad you didn't mind my spouting off about Buddy.

Keep it comin'!

Now on Buddy's big band: I barely got started on it, but I'm slowly "getting" some of those seventies big bands, very slowly.

And Jim, your bildfold test may be one of the reasons I got interested in them in the first hand, thanks! Also DEEP's posting of his alternative/unedited liners for the Sony/Legacy reissue of Maynard's "Chameleon" made me pick up that CD back then. That one I still don't really "get", but I'm working on it ;)

ubu

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Talking of Lin Biviano, I'm sure I saw an episode of the Lawrence Welk show where he was introduced and featured on trumpet ! :o

Edited by sidewinder

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What I mean is that the style of the Buddy Rich band is not to my liking far more often than not. Too strict, too tight, too "higherfasterlouder". Soloists whose main goal (and possibly the only feasible goal, given the environment) is to execute successfully and get out alive. Charts where relaxation is relative to massive tension, not to further relaxation.

But that was Buddy, right? A driven soul if ever there was one. And one, as noted above, totally without tolerance for bullshit (at least bullshit as he knew it).

So, how do you seperate the personal dislike of most of the music from a deep respect for, not only the sheer professional awesomeness of it all, but from the realization that this was the way that a Buddy Rich big band HAD to sound? That to do anything else would be dishonest? That if the mark of greatness in jazz is to create a musical identity that is yours and yours alone, unquestionably and uncompromisingly, that Buddy Rich reached greatness in no uncertain terms?

Certainly Buddy Rich was a talent worthy of tremendous respect, both from his own ability and from his career path.So, if that talent is respected, how does one say that they just don't care for the results, and would most often hear anything but? Is it possible to have as much respect for Buddy Rich as I do and dislike the bulk of his music to an equal degree? Seems a bit of a quandry, it does. But there it is.

Courage.

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I think it is poissible to get the two recording he made. The best is a duo recording with bassist Frank Pullara, recorded live. He also made a solo recording but it has never been released.

There is at least one other Kiener recording. I know because I have it. I'll have to dig it out tonight, but I think the name of it is "The Barry Kiener Trio" from around '77 with Tom Warrington on bass and DEEP on drums. Haven't heard it for a while. It covers a bit of ground stylistically but is centered around some very rapid bop pieces. I believe it's on a label called Phoenix.

Also Barry can be heard on Buddy's "The Best Band I Ever Had" LP/CD, as well as on Buddy's "Plays and Plays and Plays..." LP (some of which was reissued on a Novus CD).

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I've really enjoyed the late-60s recordings that EMI has re-issued in the past several years--in fact, recently played "Mr. Lucky" on WFIU's The Big Bands. (Off THE NEW ONE? Can't remember at the moment...) I also like the two Heps of his late-40s unit, which contained--for awhile, anyway--one Mr. Warne Marsh.

BR will never make it into my big-band rotation as much as Ellington, Basie, Herman, Shaw, etc., but I have, of late, developed an appreciation for him.

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the human twisto known as Buddy Rich

...nice phrase! :lol:

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What can you say? Turn it down comes to mind... :w

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JSgnry,

Yes, I understand now.

Thay band only existed as a showcase for Buddy's talent. That's one of the reasons that he could not hold soloist for very long. If you remember when yopu saw the band, when Buddy took a solo, EVERYONE in the band had to turn his head and keep his eyes on him. I mean they were ordered to, no matter how much they dug him. That alone let everyone know who the star was!

Now that I think of it, I don't remember him even playing a ballad. When Barry was in the Band, there was a regular Trio feature ( Barry picked the songs ), and Rich played with brushes very often. That was as soft as he got! Hell look at the names of his bands; "Killer Force, "The Big Band Machine" etc.! You can almost smell the locker room sweat.

So you have to dig the music with this in mind: you have to dig Buddy!

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Thay band only existed as a showcase for Buddy's talent. That's one of the reasons that he could not hold soloist for very long.

Now that I think of it, I don't remember him even playing a ballad. When Barry was in the Band, there was a regular Trio feature ( Barry picked the songs ), and Rich played with brushes very often. That was as soft as he got!

I will go on record as saying that for the most part, I really dig Buddy's band. I think in the late 70's/ early 80's he played a few too many funk charts for my liking, but otherwise, his book was very deep with many strong charts by excellent writers.

I have to respectfully disagree with several of the points marcello makes:

About keeping soloists: Pat LaBarbera for 7 years, Steve Marcus for 12, Andy Fusco for 4, Barry Kiener off and on for nearly 10. Not bad.

Ballads: Every set Rich played included at least one ballad. Here are several which come to mind and which have been recorded: "Alfie" featuring Art Pepper; "'Round Midnight" featuring Marcus: "Lush Life" featuring Rick Stepton; "If You Could See Me Now" featuring Andy Fusco; the middle section of "Channel One Suite" featuring Don Menza and later Marcus.

In fact, every one of the big suites Buddy played (Channel One, West Side Story, Tommy, Good News) included a slow ballad section.

If you are interested in the artistry of Buddy Rich the recent DVD "Live at the Montreal International Jazz Festival 1982" is a must-see. There is a remarkable chart by Joe Rocissano called "Brush Strokes" in which Buddy plays soft brushes throughout with the band (not just the trio); plus the aforementioned "If You Could See Me Now".

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Hey Marcello -

in 1967 when I was 13 years old I attended a music camp in Delhi, NY called new York State Music Camp. There was a young kid pianist (I'm not sure how old he was than) who was blowing very nice solos even at that tender age - it was, of course, Barry Kiener. I'll say that we didn't get along real well (he was kinda cocky), but I was schocked years later to be watching the Tonight Show to see him play. I thought he played great, if a little "Oscar Peterson-ish" for my taste. His death was quite shocking -

Edited by AllenLowe

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What can you say? Turn it down comes to mind... :w

But what do you say if I slip in the 8-track of K-Tel's FREEDOM ROCK?

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The way I see it, Buddy made three landmark recordings.

Swingin' New Big Band

The New One!

and

Big Swing Face

The rest are all good, just not essential.

Keep The Customer Satisfied and Mercy Mercy come in third and fourth.

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If you remember when you saw the band, when Buddy took a solo, EVERYONE in the band had to turn his head and keep his eyes on him. I mean they were ordered to, no matter how much they dug him. That alone let everyone know who the star was!

What a great idea! I'm bringing this up at our next Organissimo rehearsal. Joe and Randy have to look at me when I'm soloing with utter awe and wonderment.

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What can you say?  Turn it down comes to mind... :w

But what do you say if I slip in the 8-track of K-Tel's FREEDOM ROCK?

DUDE! :lol:

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I've got Big Swing Face. One of my favorites on that album is his daughter signing The Beat Goes On. It's kinda cheesy, but it sounds as though everyone was having a pretty good time. It just makes me smile.

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Thay band only existed as a showcase for Buddy's talent. That's one of the reasons that he could not hold soloist for very long.

Now that I think of it, I don't remember him even playing a ballad. When Barry was in the Band, there was a regular Trio feature ( Barry picked the songs ), and Rich played with brushes very often. That was as soft as he got!

I will go on record as saying that for the most part, I really dig Buddy's band. I think in the late 70's/ early 80's he played a few too many funk charts for my liking, but otherwise, his book was very deep with many strong charts by excellent writers.

I have to respectfully disagree with several of the points marcello makes:

About keeping soloists: Pat LaBarbera for 7 years, Steve Marcus for 12, Andy Fusco for 4, Barry Kiener off and on for nearly 10. Not bad.

Ballads: Every set Rich played included at least one ballad. Here are several which come to mind and which have been recorded: "Alfie" featuring Art Pepper; "'Round Midnight" featuring Marcus: "Lush Life" featuring Rick Stepton; "If You Could See Me Now" featuring Andy Fusco; the middle section of "Channel One Suite" featuring Don Menza and later Marcus.

In fact, every one of the big suites Buddy played (Channel One, West Side Story, Tommy, Good News) included a slow ballad section.

If you are interested in the artistry of Buddy Rich the recent DVD "Live at the Montreal International Jazz Festival 1982" is a must-see. There is a remarkable chart by Joe Rocissano called "Brush Strokes" in which Buddy plays soft brushes throughout with the band (not just the trio); plus the aforementioned "If You Could See Me Now".

QUOTE=marcello,Jan 20 2005, 09:31 AM]

Thay band only existed as a showcase for Buddy's talent. That's one of the reasons that he could not hold soloist for very long.

John, I should explain a little further; as you point out, he did keep some players for a long time as your examples show. What I ment to say that the vast hordes of other players that went in and out of the band were quicker to flee his band than they were the Herman and other bands operating at the time. He could be VERY difficult to work for!

After I wrote the comment about ballads I remember that I was wrong in that he did play them. I must say that most of the time they really had boffo endings!

Allen Lowe, you guessed it. That would have been Barry at that camp and like a lot of child prodigies, he could be full of himself, for sure. In 1967 he would have been 11 or 12! Oscar Petersonish at 11 or 12?! Like I said, he was brilliant! AND he could play the Blues!

Europe 77

Chuck Schmidt, Dean Pratt, John Marshall, Danny Hayes (t); Matt Johnson, Dale Kirkland (tb); Edward Eby (btb); Chuck Wilson, Alan Gauvin, Steve Marcus, Gary Pribeck, Greg Smith (reeds); Barry Keiner (p); Tom Warrington (b)

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Hey - here's a Buddy Rich question, and an interesting quote - Dave Schildkraut played with Buddy's band for a short while, though I don't know the dates. According to Dave's wife, Buddy told Dave that, after Artie Shaw, Dave was the greatest clarinetist he ever heard. Now - does anyone know : 1) When Dave played with Buddy; and 2) if there are any recordings with Dave in the band -

thanks -

Edited by AllenLowe

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He also made a solo recording but it has never been released.

If this reference is to a live taping in Toronto, I was the one that recorded it for broadcast on CJRT-FM. At least five years ago Barry's father learned I had done it, and called me about it. I sent it all to him (about 90-100 minutes of digitally-recorded solo work) and then never heard anything more. I thought it was releaseable music--I made a cassette to listen to in my car--but I guess the Kieners didn't.

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