Louie Bellson

From Academic Kids

Luigi Paulino Alfredo Francesco Antonio Balassoni (born in Moline, Illinois 1924), who performed as Louie Bellson, is an American jazz drummer. He is one of the few jazz drummers to be considered a worthy rival for Buddy Rich.

Between 1943 and 1952, Bellson performed with Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, and Duke Ellington (for whom he wrote "Skin Deep" and "The Hawk Talks"). In 1952 he married Pearl Bailey and left Ellington to be her musical director. Later in the 1950s and 60s he performed with Jazz at the Philharmonic, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Count Basie, Ellington again, and James again.

He also recorded extensively and led his own bands (occasionally maintaining separate bands on each coast). His sidemen have included Blue Mitchell, Don Menza, Larry Novak, John Heard, Clark Terry, Pete and Conte Candoli, and Snooky Young. He was equally effective as a big band drummer and as a small group drummer.

He may also have been the first person to use double bass drums as part of his drumkit.

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