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Mister, I Am The Band!: Buddy Rich, His Life and Travels by Doug Meriwether

It’s all here, from his father’s vaudville act and Buddy Rich’s time as “Traps, the Drum Wonder,” to George Auld recommending him for work with Bunny Berigan and Artie Shaw, the Dorsey days and the continuing relationship with Frank Sinatra, through the drummer’s frequent flirtations with a singing career and onto his addiction to “life on the road” as a bandleader. Even the clandestine tape Australian trombonist Dave Panichi made of a “hate rehearsal” with Rich in “rugged psychologist”/”iron fist and drill instructor” mode is discussed and excused by the author (obviously here, as in other sections, too in awe of his sbject to be objective), who sanitizes his partial transcript of Buddy’s most infamous recording for your protection.

After 10 pages of archival photos, there is a disclaimer concerning the following “incomplete” 294-page discography, which (unfortunately) may be the only justifiable reason for buying this book. The first 138 pages suffer from incomplete sentences and a convoluted, clumsy, garbled syntax in which (on p. 121 alone, for example) cue cards refuse to wear glasses and disgarded, stinky leisure suits fly back to L.A. It’s as if this was written in some other tongue, and translated by someone only vaguely familiar with the English language.

Originally Published