Five For Friday: Gene Krupa

Shelley Krupa, who writes the excellent blog Quaint Revival (which, if you haven’t read it, you should. She pretty much only writes on Sunday), left me this as part of a comment today:

On a side note, have you ever written a post about Gene Krupa? Via marriage, I’m supposedly related to him.

Since I really had nothing else planned, and since Gene Krupa was a pretty remarkable drummer, I decided to go with her idea…

  1. Benny Goodman Orchestra, "Sing, Sing, Sing": Maybe his best known solo was the one he did with the Benny Goodman Orchestra on this 1937 recording of Louis Prima’s "Sing, Sing, Sing."

  2. Gene Krupa Orchestra, "Drum Boogie": One of my all-time favorite movies is the 1941 screwball comedy Ball of Fire starring Gary Cooper and Miss Barbara Stanwyck as Katherine "Sugarpuss" O’Shea, a nightclub singer. She makes her first appearance in a club where the Gene Krupa Orchestra is playing. While her voice is dubbed by Martha Tilton, she turns in a fantastic performance. Gene does an encore by playing "Drum Boogie" on a matchbox.

  3. Benny Goodman Quartet, "Avalon": Both Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa are from Chicago, Goodman from the Maxwell Street area, Krupa from the South Chicago neighborhood. At a time when segregation and Jim Crow were the law of the land in many areas, the Goodman quartet had two white members (Goodman and Krupa) and two Black members (pianist Teddy Wilson and vibraphonist Lionel Hampton). "Avalon" was written by Al Jolson and Vincent Rose and was recorded by the quartet in 1937. Gene mostly stays in the background as the timekeeper for the quartet, but he does some interesting playing especially toward the end.

  4. Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich, "Drum Battle": From a 1966 episode of The Sammy Davis Jr. Show. Krupa and Rich did a couple of albums together and would stage drum battles on many of their shared gigs. Here is one such battle, with Sammy giving each drummer one of his shoes as a prize at the end.

  5. Gene Krupa Quartet, "Big Noise From Winnetka": Two members of Bob Crosby’s band, bassist Bob Haggart and drummer Bauduc, made this up on a gig at the Blackhawk restaurant in Chicago’s Loop. (Winnetka is a suburb about 20 miles north of downtown Chicago, where several of my high school friends lived; Northfield, where I lived in my high school days, is "next door" and both share the same ZIP code.) As with the original, Krupa plays part of this on the bass player’s strings.

Thanks again to Shelley for this week’s theme. That’s Five For Friday for November 19, 2021.

7 thoughts on “Five For Friday: Gene Krupa

  1. I came to know Gene Krupa in a weird way…through Keith Moon. Moon really thought a lot of him and as a young kid when I read this I checked him out. He was fantastic…I started to explore him and Buddy Rich


  2. Yay – thanks for doing this post! Nice job!! Here I am, on Sunday, finally reading your Friday post. I can’t wait to share the link to it on my blog and also send it out to my family. One of these days we hope to find the links that take us to be related to Gene. If we are, that is. 😉

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  3. Excellent set and love that scene in Ball of Fire. Funny, my dad always claimed we were related to Gene Krupa as well. (Also Liberace). Maybe I am a cousin of Shelley’s.

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