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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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A Different Drummer/Stick It




1. Superstar
2. Domino
3. Chelsea Bridge
4. Paul's Tune
5. Straight, No Chaser
6. Heaven on their Minds
7. A Piece of the Road Suite: Pipe Dreams/Countin' Them Long White Lines/A Piece of the Road/Back of the Bus

Buddy Rich - Drums
Pat LaBarbera, Don Englert - Tenor sax, soprano sax, flute
Brian A. Grivna - Alto sax, flute
Jimmy Mosher - Alto sax, soprano sax, flute
Joe Calo - Baritone sax, soprano sax, flute
Lin Biviano, Jeff Stout, Wayne Naus, John DeFlon - Trumpets
Bruce Paulson, Tony DiMaggio - Trombones
John Leys - Bass trombone
Bob Peterson - Piano
Paul Kondziela, Bob Daugherty - Basses
David Spinozza - Guitar
Phil Kraus - Percussion
Candido - Conga, bongoes

1. Space Shuttle
2. God Bless the Child
3. Best Coast
4. Wave
5. Something
6. Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey
7. Sassy Strut
8. Bein' Green

Buddy Rich - Drums
Pat LaBarbera, Don Englert - Tenor sax, soprano sax, flute
Joe Romano, Brian A. Grivna - Alto sax, flute
Richard Centalonza - Baritone sax
Lin Biviano, Wayne Naus, Greg Hopkins, John DeFlon - Trumpets
Eric Culver, Alan Kaplan - Trombones
William Reichenbach - Bass trombone
Walt Namuth - Guitar
Joel Di Bartolo - Bass
George McFetridge - Piano


When I reviewsd BGO's reissue of two other Buddy Rich albums, I felt that it was a little like Hamlet without enough of the prince. You can usually expect big bands led by drummers to feature the drummer quite a lot but, again, these two newly-remastered albums keep Buddy in the background for much of the time.

Hopes are not raised when the first track of A Different Drummer begins with a female choir intoning "Superstar" over and over again. However, the tune develops into an up-tempo slice of jazz-rock, which is the basic tempo for much of this CD. It's as if someone was trying to show how up-to-date the band was, including two tunes from Jesus Christ Superstar (Superstar and Heaven on their Minds), which was only premiered in New York in 1971, the year the album was made. The CD also contains Van Morrison's Domino, which was a hit single in 1970. The second CD was also keen to show its hipness, with three tunes by the Beatles. Buddy Rich may have seemed old hat to some people by the 1970s, but he didn't disdain to play such very modern "pop" compositions.

There is no doubting the drive that Buddy imparts to the band, and he always made sure that his musicians included players with superb technique. This is clear in such places as the solo by Jimmy Mosher on alto sax in Phil Wilson's atmospheric arrangement of Chelsea Bridge, and Pat La Barbera and Don Englert's shared solo on tenors in Straight, No Chaser (which also has a muted but dynamic trumpet solo from Jeff Stout). In fact Pat La Barbera is the featured soloist on several tracks and he deserves the spotlight. His brother, John la Barbera, arranged four of the seven tracks, including the varied moods of the Piece of the Road Suite. Trumpeter Lin Biviano contributes several ear-splittingly high solos.

As in the previous album I reviewed, there are insufficient drum solos by Buddy Rich - at least for someone like myself, who admired Buddy's amazing speed and dexterity. He is allowed to solo on Straight, No Chaser (briefly), Paul's Tune and in the last section of the Piece of the Road Suite (with the other two percussionists), but there are none of the memorably grandstanding drum solos such as Buddy played in his band's version of West Side Story. Another grouse is that the sound quality could be clearer - at times it seems muddy.

The second CD - Stick It - was recorded the following year and, like its predececssor, is a curate's egg - a mixture of good and less good. Space Shuttle is an uninspiring riff-based tune, whearas Joe Romano's alto solo lifts God Bless the Child. Best Coast is a spirited jazz waltz with good soloing from its composer, Pat La Barbera on soprano sax.

Lin Biviano's shrieking stratospheric trumpet tends to overpower George Harrison's Something, and the doubling of the tempo halfway through hardly fits the song. Eight minutes of the two other Beatles tunes allows solo space for five members of the band, with the three trombonists duelling mightily. Sassy Strut is exactly what it says on the tin. Buddy Rich was formerly a fairly respectable singer but he would have done better to avoid tackling the vocals on Bein' Green, accompanied only by Walt Namuth's guitar.

Thus ends another album which contains some potent big-band music but lacks enough of a showcase for the leader. Another disappointment is that this reissue omits the ten-minute version of Space Shuttle which was on the album when it was transferred to CD - and apparently included a drum solo!

Tony Augarde

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