Gene Krupa

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About Gene Krupa

Chicago-born jazz drummer Gene Krupa was a spectacular player with a loose-limbed, rambunctious style that played well to audiences. His full-kit playing technique influenced jazz and pop drummers for several generations, and he was most likely the first drummer to play kick drums and toms on a recording. His breakout gig was in the 1930s with Benny Goodman's highly popular big band. Krupa formed his own big band in the early '40s featuring Roy Eldridge and Anita O'Day, briefly served in Tommy Dorsey's band, and then re-formed his own band. Through the '40s and '50s, Krupa stayed relevant by allowing the swing-jazz rhythms he made popular to mutate into a more timely bop-influenced style. The '60s saw him slowing down, and by 1973 the era's most influential drummer had succumbed to leukemia.

Chicago, IL, United States
January 15, 1909

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