Monday, December 6, 2010

Gene Krupa

Gene Krupa, studied with Sanford A. Moeller and began playing professionally in the mid 1920s. He was picked by MCA to become a member of "Thelma Terry and Her Playboys", the first American Jazz band (outside of all-girl bands) to be led by a female musician.

Krupa made his first recordings in 1927, with a band under the leadership of banjoist Eddie Condon and Red McKenzie along with other musicians known in the "Chicago" scene such as Bix Beiderbecke, these sides are examples of "Chicago Style" jazz. The numbers recorded at that session were: "China Boy", "Sugar", "Nobody's Sweetheart" and "Liza". The McKenzie - Condon sides are also notable for being some of the early examples of the use of a full drum kit on recordings. Krupa also appeared on six recordings made by the Thelma Terry band in 1928.

In 1929, he was part of the Mound City Blue Blowers sessions, that also included Red McKenzie, Glenn Miller, and Coleman Hawkins, which produced "Hello Lola" and "One Hour", which Krupa was credited with co-writing.

In 1929 he moved to New York City and worked with the band of Red Nichols. In 1934 he joined Benny Goodman's band, where his featured drum work made him a national celebrity. His tom-tom interludes on their hit "Sing, Sing, Sing" were the first extended drum solos to be recorded commercially. In 1938, Krupa performed with the Goodman Orchestra in the famous Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert.

After a public fight with Goodman at the Earl Theater in Philadelphia, Krupa left Goodman to launch his own band and had several hits with singer Anita O'Day and trumpeter Roy Eldridge.

In 1939, Gene Krupa and his Orchestra appeared in the Paramount movie, Some Like It Hot, which starred Bob Hope, performing the title song, "Blue Rhythm Fantasy", and "The Lady's in Love with You". Krupa made a memorable cameo appearance in the 1941 film Ball of Fire, in which he and his band performed an extended version of the hit "Drum Boogie", which he composed with trumpeter Roy Eldridge.

In 1943, Krupa was arrested for possession of two marijuana cigarettes and was given a three-month jail sentence. Krupa spent most of his savings defending himself of this charge and believed his career to be over. Then, Goodman invited him to perform with his orchestra.

Krupa soon formed his second orchestra. This one was notable for its large string section, and also featured Charlie Ventura on sax. It was one of the largest dance bands of the era, sometimes containing up to forty musicians. He also invited another drummer into the band so that he could take breaks and lead the orchestra from the front.

Krupa, also had a cameo appearance in the film, The Best Years Of Our Lives (1946). His athletic drumming style, timing methods and cymbal technique evolved during this decade to fit in with changed fashions and tastes. In 1954, Krupa returned to Hollywood, performing, along with Louis Armstrong, "Basin Street Blues" in Jimmy Stewart's bio-pic The Glenn Miller Story. He also joined  Benny Goodman, Harry James, Teddy Wilson, and Lionel Hampton in The Benny Goodman Story, starring Steve Allen. In 1959, the movie biography The Gene Krupa Story was released, with Sal Mineo portraying Krupa and a cameo appearance by Red Nichols.

Krupa continued to perform even in famous clubs in the 1960s like the Metropole, near Times Square in New York City, often playing duets with African American drummer Cozy Cole. Troubled by back pain, he retired in the late 1960s and opened a music school.

The Gene Krupa Story(1959). Biopic of drummer and bandleader Gene Krupa. The conflict in the film centers around Krupa's rise to success and his use of marijuana. Cast: Sal Mineo, Susan Kohner and James Darren.

A young Gene Krupa brings set of drums into his parents' apartment. Unfortunately, Gene's father, who wants his son to become a priest, does not support his dream and smashes the drum set. That does not stop Gene joining his friend, Eddie Sirota, in forming a band. After his father's death, Gene gives up his dreams of drumming and becomes a priest. At the end of his first year of training, Gene returns home and Eddie convinces him to play with the band for the summer. One night, Gene's family pays a visit to the club in which he is performing. Gene tells his mother that he is not retuning to the seminary. Eddie and Gene to go to New York looking for work to perform in a jazz band. Three months pass in which Eddie and Gene are unable to find employment. To support them, Ethel takes a job as a switchboard operator. Soon, they are invited to a gathering of jazz musicians, including Tommy Dorsey and Red Nichols. When Gene sits in with the band, they are impressed by his drumming. Later, Red hires Gene to perform in the pit band of a Broadway show. Gene starts to live in the fast lane, with drugs, alcohol, women and parties. Gene soon "hits rock bottom" where he has to face reality and choose where to take his life.

This film shows the good and bad times of Gene Krupa. A wonderful film with some great musicians.
Sal Mineo(January 10, 1939 – February 12, 1976). Film and theatre actor, best known for his performance opposite James Dean in the film Rebel Without a Cause, in which he played John "Plato" Crawford. His performance resulted in an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor.

Mineo played a Mexican boy in Giant (1956), but many of his roles were variations of his role in Rebel Without a Cause, and he was typecast as a troubled teen. In the Disney adventure Tonka, Mineo starred as a young Sioux named White Bull who domesticates a spirited wild horse named "Tonka" who becomes the famous Comanche. In 1959 He starred as drummer Gene Krupa in the movie, The Gene Krupa Story.

Mineo made an effort to break his typecasting and played a Jewish emigrant in, Exodus, for which he won a Golden Globe Award and received another Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor.

No comments:

Post a Comment