Drummer Gene Krupa played what was to be the final live show of his long career today in 1973, shortly before his death. Some fourteen years earlier, a biopic of his life was released, with movie posters carrying the strap line: “He hammered out the savage tempo of the Jazz Era”. They weren’t wrong.
Jazz drummer extrordinaire Eugene Bertram Krupa aka Gene Krupa played what was to be his final public performance, as part of a reformed Benny Goodman Quartet at Saratoga Springs, New York.
Back in tandem with BG and former band mates, Lionel Hampton, Slam Stewart and Teddy Wilson, recordings of the gig demonstrate that although in semi-retirement, Krupa was still able to reproduce flashes of the inimitable barnstorming style that had first been on heard on record way back in 1927 – notably on his trademark tune, “Sing, Sing, Sing”.
The five musicians had also played acclaimed gigs in both Chicago and New York’s Carnegie Hall – Goodman commenting at the latter that, “It’s not that I’m trying to prove anything any more, but it’s just the faintly astonishing fact that here we are all together again alive and kicking.”
Sadly though Gene succumbed to a heart attack within just two months of the Saratoga Springs performance, passing on at the age of 64.
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And here’s some footage of Krupa & Co. in action: