Tuesday, February 17, 2009

5-4-T: R.I.P. Louie Bellson

I can't remember the first celebrity I ever met. It may have been the punter for the USFL's Chicago Blitz. I can't quite recall. But when I was 14, my high school jazz program put together a show with some famous musicians, just like they do every year. Visiting the school were trumpeter Clark Terry and drummer Louie Bellson. I played the French Horn, not exactly the most prolific instrument for jazz, but came to the workshops to see what all the fuss was about. I can't remember anything he said, but was immediately impressed by just how freaking cool Bellson was. He was already an old man, but captivated every young mind in attendance. This was a real musician, a craftsman who didn't even need sticks to wow us on the drum kit. He met with each young musician in the room, and couldn't have been any nicer. Needless to say, learning that he passed away Saturday at the age of 84 was sad news to hear. Bellson was still pounding the skins right up until his death. So for today's Five For Tuesday, we turn control over to Louie and his frenetic hands. And if your neighbors ask you to turn down the racket, tell 'em to cool out.*

1) 1950

2) 1957

3) 1960-ish?

4) 1980

5) 1988 *If you can only watch one of these, this is the one:

*special thanks to whoever richcapo is since he put most of 'em on Youtube.

6) UPDATE - 'cause this one turned up later and is also worth sharing:


mcrae said...

He was truly one of the greats. Talent coming out of his ears, but above those ears the guy could have put a green dish towel on his head and it would have made a more believable hair piece. In the last video it looks like someone cut the top off Blagojevich's head, soaked it in olive oil and then slapped it on Bellson's. Rest in piece Bellson's Blagojevich toupee.

topher g said...

amazing. i was watching this and thinking "this guy must have some special mutant ability to play the drums the way he does". then i see him basically go all wolverine in the carson video. adamantium claws and all. incredible.

Lahill said...

Your posting reminds that you must be getting older, since you now already have a past about which you can reminisce - not an unpleasant ingredient of aging. But using the blog to honor a memory, in very elegant language, is also a positive sign of the times. Things you might not have done if it had required paper and ink. Bravo.
El Viejo.