Buzzy Drootin

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The drummer Buzzy Drootin -- whose nickname developed out of a combination of a loose snare drum tuning and energetic personal vibrations -- was actually born in the Ukraine. He was whisked off to Boston…
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The drummer Buzzy Drootin -- whose nickname developed out of a combination of a loose snare drum tuning and energetic personal vibrations -- was actually born in the Ukraine. He was whisked off to Boston at the age of five; three out of four brothers in this family became musicians. Drootin's professional career began in 1940 when he went on tour with vocalist Ina Ray Hutton. This was followed by two years working with bandleader Al Donahue, then a move to Chicago where he literally made a buzz with several small classic jazz outfits. One of his bosses was the one-armed trumpeter Wingy Manone.

In 1947 Drootin left Chicago for New York City, becoming closely associated with Eddie Condon with nearly five years of tenure in that leader and nightclub proprietor's house rhythm section. Listeners of the ensuing decade who were hanging with swing and New Orleans, balking at bebop, would regularly have Drootin's cymbals ringing in their ears in the groups of Jimmy McPartland, Bobby Hackett, Wild Bill Davison, and many others. Through the '50s and '60s the drummer paradiddled back and forth between the hometown of his American youth and both Chicago and New York City. He was sometimes employed as a regular in the productions of jazz promoter George Wein. He and sibling Al Drootin started their own Drootin Brothers Jazz Band in the '70s. Buzzy was still performing in the '80s. He died from cancer.