We regret to announce the unexpected passing of Louie Bellson on Feb 14, 2009.
Tenative plans are for an L.A. area funeral, followed by funeral and burial in Moline, Illinois, his boyhood home. Details forthcoming.
Referred to by Duke Ellington as “not only the world’s greatest drummer...(but also) the world’s greatest musician!”, Louie Bellson has expressed himself on drums since age three. At 15, he pioneered the double bass drum set-up. At 17, he triumphed over 40,000 drummers to win the Gene Krupa drumming contest.
He has performed on more than 200 albums with such greats as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Woody Herman, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Louie Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, James Brown, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Joe Williams, Wayne Newton and Bellson’s late wife Pearl Bailey.
In March 2007, Bellson and 35 other jazz greats received the Living Jazz Legends Award from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. In June 2007, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers inducted Bellson as a Living Legend in the ASCAP Jazz Wall of Fame ceremony, Jazz at the Lincoln Center, New York City.
His new big-band CD with trumpeter Clark Terry, "LOUIE & CLARK EXPEDITION 2" was released in early 2008.
Here's Louie on the Tonight Show playing "Don't Get Around Much Any More."
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