Louie Bellson started playing drums at age three and by age 15 he pioneered the double base technique. At 17 he beat out 40,000 other contestants to win the Gene Krupa drumming competition and by 18 he was performing with Benny Goodman’s orchestra. He worked with many greats like Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, and Duke Ellington and also led many bands of his own. In 1952 he married Pearl Bailey and worked as her drummer and musical director as well. Bellson was a prolific composer with more than 1000 titles to his name. The video is the drum solo for the song “Skin Deep” which he wrote during his time working with Ellington’s orchestra. There are actually several drum solos in the full piece but I thought it was worth showing this clip for the close up of the man in action!
My love of a good meal is often incompatible with my love of fitting into my pants. It is for that reason I have decided to get back into running as soon as weather permits. By running I mean slightly bouncier walking of course. I’m sure it looks ridiculous but it makes me feel like I’m doing something athletic. Here’s what any of this has to do with Louie Bellson. He grew up in Moline, IL which is not too far from me. In his h0nor they hold an annual fun run called Louie Bellson 5K Memorial Drum Roll. I might try to participate this Fall if it fits my schedule. I love a 5K because it’s short enough for even me to finish in a reasonable amount of time with my disturbing, counter productive wiggle walk. Plus between the cool 5K shirt and my smug sense of accomplishment, I walk around feeling like the Flabby Flo Jo for weeks!