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PAS Hall of Fame

LOUIS BELLSON

By Frederick D. Fairchild

(b. Illinois, U. S. A. July 26, 1924)

Called by Duke Ellington "The World's Greatest Drummer," Louis Bellson started using his famed twin bass drum set up when he was 15, won the Gene Krupa Drum Contest when he was 17, recorded with Krupa just a few years later, became Benny Goodman's big band drummer, and played with Tommy Dorsey (eventually being featured on the Dorsey Brothers' TV show), Harry James, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie, and finally formed his own big band. In addition to his popular big band charts, his other compositions have included a ballet "The Marriage Vows," "Symphony in Jazz Americana," "The London Suite," and his "Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra." Jazz critic Leonard Feather has said, "Musicians and public alike respect him as a drummer without peer in technique, taste, and originality, and as a composer whose works are a consistently effective fusion of melodic, rhythmic and harmonic ideas."

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