Gene Krupa

Swing Era, 1927-1947

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On the level, folks, this is an outstanding portrait of Gene Krupa (1909-1973), one of the primal architects of jazz drumming after Baby Dodds, Kaiser Marshall, Sonny Greer, and Zutty Singleton. The 22 well-chosen examples here trace the dizzying evolution of jazz (and Krupa!) across a span of 20 years. Krupa first appears as a rowdy upstart with McKenzie & Condon's Chicagoans and the Mound City Blue Blowers, then as an energetic young man collaborating with pianist Jess Stacy and propelling Benny Goodman's Orchestra and Quartet, and at last (beginning with track 10) as the leader of his own big band. Unlike his old pal Eddie Condon, Krupa eventually became fascinated with early modern developments in jazz and actively incorporated elements of bop into his band's charts and repertoire. If "Leave Us Leap" is swing at its most highly developed, "How High the Moon," "Disc Jockey Jump," and of course "Calling Dr. Gillespie" are thrilling examples of how some of the big bands embraced the innovative ideas that became so prevalent after the Second World War. This compilation does a splendid job of mapping the rapid stylistic evolution of jazz -- from hot to swing to bop -- while telling the story of Gene Krupa the way it really should be told. Few others have done it this well.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:43
2 3:12
feat: Jess Stacy
4 2:56
5 2:43
6 3:02
7 2:42
8 2:30
9 8:48
10 2:11
11 2:12
12 2:53
13 2:59
14 3:05
15 2:36
16 3:01
17 3:09
18 3:00
19 3:00
20 3:18
21 3:09
22 3:20
blue highlight denotes track pick