Phil Leshin sent these
photos and ads from his time as bass player with Buddy!
In my mail back to Phil, thanking
him for his generosity with the pictures, I complain about everybody just
knowing Buddy the way he was from "The Bus Tapes". Here's his response:
In Phil's own words:
I agree about those tapes. I saw that side
of Buddy several times, but I also saw a kind, sweet, charming side. We shared
a love for Basie, Prez and Billie, and took those records with us on the road.
When we toured with a big band that had both Johnny Mandel and Billy Byers in
it, Billy listened to some of the Basie records Buddy liked and copied them
(he could do that better and faster than anyone) and we had a happy band and a
happy leader...but no money. It was called a "panic" band, because we never
earned enough money to keep going.
During a gig at the Prevue Lounge in
Chicago, Buddy's plane was late in arriving. We got a fine local drummer named
Walter Perk ins to play the first set, and when Buddy arrived, he thanked him
profusely. Then, at the close of the gig, he gave Walter, who was having
financial problems, his entire set of Ludwig drums -- and called Bill Ludwig
and ordered a new set for himself. Since he endorsed that brand, Ludwig
grumbled, but sent the new set to our next gig.
He was enamored of the piano playing of
Kenny Drew, and we often played with just the trio, playing beautiful
standards. Club owners complained...they wanted more "noise." He told them to
get lost or get a new band. (You can hear the trio on one take on the Playtime
CD, recorded live at Birdland in 1958).
He could be very mercurial, and was so nasty
that I quit twice...once in Chicago, and once on the Sawmill Parkway in
NY...when I made him stop the car, took out my bass and hitchhiked back to New
York. The next day, he called, made a joke out of it, and I was back with the
band. It was hard to say "no" to the world's greatest drummer.
Phil added these
pictures during summer of 1999:
||The big band is at the Paramount Thtre,
NY, circa 1952. That's Frank at the mike, bathed in too bright spotlights.
This was BEFORE "From Here To Eternity" and his comeback.
The band at the Paramount had: saxes -
Danny Bank, Sid Cooper, Les Clark, Al Bloch and Allen Eager; trumpets -
Louis Olds, Ed Bagley, Harold Wegbreit; trombones - Sy Berger and Eddie
Bert; Phil Brown on percussion; guitar player was Frank's - don't recall
his name; pianist was Bill Miller, Frank's longtime accompanist.
||BR at the drums was either '52 or '53.
||The Buddy Rich road band, same time
period, had the following personnel (to best of my recollection): Bill
Rubenstein, piano; JR Montrose, tenor sax; (can't remember, alto sax);
John Bonney, lead alto; Ben Larry, tenor sax; Phil Brown, percussion;
Billy Byers, trombone & arranger; Joe Steinberg, trb; Charlie Wolpe, Jerry
||No comments about this one.
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