Buddy Christian

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As a jazz drummer, Buddy Christian was a link between developments before bebop and afterwards and is a name one might find buried in the credits to a jazz anthology entitled Birth of Bebop. He was on…
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As a jazz drummer, Buddy Christian was a link between developments before bebop and afterwards and is a name one might find buried in the credits to a jazz anthology entitled Birth of Bebop. He was on the scene before the birth as well, although efforts to make him active as far as back as 1910 by sitting a banjo on his knee are misguided. He is not the Buddy Christian who came from New Orleans and was an original member of the King Oliver band. But he was the type of drummer various bop prototypes -- pre-boppers, shadow boppers, ex-boppers, bop lite, and so forth -- would be on the lookout for, since his method of timekeeping employs both the slightly more solid notion of a beat hung over from the swing era and a much less busy show of hands than the "look at me" drummers of bop at its height, or even worse, hard bop. The lightness of his touch also led to periods in groups such as the swinging combos of vibraphonist Red Norvo, although Christian was able to play it fast and hard enough for trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, one of the bop era's tougher customers. The drummer's credits seem to dry up after the '40s, but not before he had the rare opportunity to back up a jazz critic, Leonard Feather, on several different sessions. Of course, Feather was a pianist and composer, but his fame as a jazz critic totally overwhelms his status as a musician. It is quite unusual for jazz musicians to back up jazz critics; while jazz musicians will sometimes use the word "up" as a partial description of something they would like to do to a jazz critic, it is not normally in conjunction with the word "back." Even more unusual, although for purely musial reasons, and even harder to find are several albums Christian cut with jazz harpist Adele Girard.