Gene Krupa

Rated by Rolling Stone at number seven in their list of the 100 greatest drummers of all time, Gene Krupa is seen as a pioneer and set the course for what is now seen as modern rock drumming. Born in Chicago in 1909, Krupa began playing drums professionally in the mid-1920s and joined his first band - Thelma Terry and Her Playboys - in 1927. He followed this by performing with Benny Goodman's orchestra and became an intrinsic part of the group, leading to the pair having a conflict after a show at Carnegie Hall in 1938. He formed his own orchestra with a range of players including Shorty Sherock and Milt Raskin but the band really came into its own when Anita O'Day and Roy Eldridge joined and had a string of hits with the likes of 'Drum Boogie', 'Let Me Off Uptown' and 'Rockin' Chair'. After being arrested on a drug charge in 1943, his orchestra disbanded but his friendship with Benny Goodman was rekindled and the two began performing again. Krupa continued to perform with a number of different groups, mainly his own, but also played with stars like Tommy Dorsey and in a trio with Charlie Ventura and Teddy Napoleon. Krupa led his band until 1951, when he began touring with the Jazz at the Philharmonic troupe, and later with trios and quartets. In 1960, Krupa suffered a heart attack and reduced his touring schedule in the years that followed. In 1967, he announced his retirement, but this only lasted a mere three years before he started performing again, albeit in a limited capacity. In 1973, Krupa died from heart failure after battles with leukaemia and emphysema.

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Stations Featuring Gene Krupa

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