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    Brush With Greatness - Buddy Rich

    Brush With Greatness - June 5, 2017This week we hear from listener Sam Turone.

    As a child, from second grade through high school, I was involved in music programs as a clarinet player. Throughout the high school years, playing in both the marching and concert bands, I always aspired to play for our high school jazz band, but only brass and sax from the marching band got to be jazz members. So, in my senior year, I decided secretly to go back to my private instructor and transfer my skills to the sax.

    Problem was, we already had the best sax section around. So, when I walked into the teacher's office to try out as a sax player and told him why I wanted to change, he thought I was nuts. 

    But he would not deny me the effort; he let me try anyway.

    He was so astonished at the way I played, he told me that I played the wrong instrument all these years. He created a position in the jazz band for me as a tenor sax player.

    Now for my brief brush with greatness: it was in my senior, graduating year, ’72-73. I played for the Boone High School band in Orlando, Florida. We were a very good band. We always performed at fundraisers and city concerts. At one particular dinner, a very special guest was to appear and the media made the big announcement. We started our usual performance. The entire time, right next to me, was a drum kit. Then the curtain closed ... and re-opened ... to the thunderous applause of ... Buddy Rich!

    He sat at the drum section next to me and started in with a cadence of our next song.

    Then, the drum section collapsed on stage! 

    Everything went down - except the snare, base drum and cymbals. The band and entire crowd was shocked, but not Mr. Rich. Unfazed, he continued with what he had, as if nothing had happened.

    When we finished the tune there was a thunderous ovation which seemed to last an eternity. Needless to say, the performance was cut short, but everyone left the hall completely amazed.


    Sam Turone

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