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4.8 out of 5 stars
Jazz Icons: Buddy Rich Live in '78
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Unlike some listeners, I prefer the straightahead, swinging, Basie-indebted Rich ensemble of the late '70s to the somewhat ponderous, rock-heavy textures of the band assembled by Buddy during the late '60s. Even though this 1978 concert catches the band just after the departure of some key Rich players like trumpeter Dave Stahl and pianist Barry Kiener, it still features Buddy's right-hand man, tenor saxophonist Steve Marcus, along with a tight-knit ensemble of players with strong soloists in all sections.

The program is a crowd-pleaser, with Nestico swingers, a fusion pop chart ("Birdland"), and one of Rich's two major drum solo vehicles ("Channel One Suite"), on which he doesn't disappoint. Visually, the camera man and editors are right on top of the action, providing long shots, close-ups, and angled shots that moreover follow the musical action. Sonically, the DVD is a bit of a disappointment. The electric bass is frequently overly penetrating and "twangy," while Buddy's bass drum, snares, and toms are often muffled. The cymbals, moreover--both the crucial hi-hat and ride cymbal--are all but inaudible for much of the performance.

Even if the concert originally was not planned for commercial release, how could the crew responsible for recording a performance by the world's most legendary drummer fail to adequately mic the drums?
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on January 9, 2007
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
From the beginning to end, this 1978 concert clearly showcases the extraordinary skills that Buddy Rich had. As Louis Bellson, one of Rich's rivals and best friends said, "he was one of God's special children" and truer words were never spoken. I have watched literally hundreds of drummers perform in every venue possible and while there are some truly gifted folks among them, no one has ever comes close to matching Rich's power, speed, technique, timing and sense of being one with his kit and the music. This edition of his band, which began in 1966, is also first-rate, with the late Steve Marcus leading the charge with his exceptional talent on tenor sax. The band's handling of many Rich's complex charts is clean and nearly flawless, far better than some of his later bands, which were populated by younger, less experienced players such as those who performed with him in his final concerts from 1985 that are also available on DVD. As for Mr. Rich, there has never been a left hand that moved more swiftly or with such precision over a snare head. He is missed and still revered by almost every drummer and serious musician and this concert is a wonderful reminder of how greatness sometimes only comes around once. Enjoy this one. It's well worth the bucks!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2006
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
Finally, a DVD release of Buddy and his band from the seventies that does them justice! "Buddy Rich - At the Top" was the previous DVD release from that decade, but it leaves viewers frustrated, because the audio quality is lacking, and the camera angles of Buddy range from fair to poor to missing altogether. Not the case with "Buddy Rich - Live in '78," a great performance of Buddy with his "Killer Force" band, taped in Holland. The sound quality is excellent and the visuals are excellent (drummers, watch Buddy's amazing left hand, supporting, augmenting, and driving his Killer Force - incredible! Truly, "one of a kind."). For those who remember seeing Buddy live in the seventies, I think you will agree this DVD captures the thunderous power, amazing precision and brilliant musicality of those times. For those who didn't see Buddy live you are in for a treat, and a lesson - in how a drummer can propel a Big Band into the stratosphere! Thank you to all who participated in the production of this fantastic DVD; special thanks to you Dean Pratt, and your brother Michael, for the informative and insightful liner notes included in the wonderful 20 page booklet.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2007
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This is one of the very best filmed performances of Buddy and his great band I have ever seen--about as close to being there as it gets. A great musician tries to play something that moves him and touches his own emotions, knowing it will affect the audience as well. In this performance, you can see Buddy grooving to the sounds of Steve Marcus and others, as well as his own solos. The whole band is really into this performance, having as good a time with the hard-driving, slashing and soaring sounds as the audience is. Marcus' work is flawless and inspired jazz, and Buddy drives the tight ensemble with his precise and limitless variety of rhythms and force-of-nature beat. Audio and video are 5-star quality; this is a treasure, indeed!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2007
Format: DVD
when buddy plays you just drop what youre doing and stare in awe. this jazz icon dvd is an absolute treasure. i just finished watching the whole dvd and find myself speechless. there are not enough superlatives to describe buddys playing. buddys band is on fire here to, and they would have to be to keep up with this guy! i found the video and audio to be superb. i have four of the jazz icon releases; thelonius monk, art blakey and dizzy gillespie. all are amazing and worth adding to your jazz collection. highly recommended!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 11, 2007
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This is easily the best of several Buddy Rich DVDs or videotapes on the market. Not only is the band in top form, but the sound is great and the cameras focused on the band more than on the audience (the reverse of some jazz videos I've seen)!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2006
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I have been a huge Buddy fan since the early-80's so I was, unfortunately, only able to see him play live once. I often wish I was older so I could have seen him play live in his prime. I have bought every CD, VCR tape, and DVD that I could find since then. In the mid-80's, I remember having a copy of Mr. Drums - Live on King Street in my hand in both CD and laserdisc and I didn't buy either one, which I severly regretted. Simply put, Buddy can do things on drums that can not be duplicated by anyone else. This DVD is a great performance with what is arguably his best band. He plays with such precision, feel, speed, and power that its great to see him play rather than just hear him play. Even when you watch it, you swear you hear twice as many notes as you see him play!!! The video is good and the audio is fine considering how old it is. I love watching him play during his younger years (50's, 60's, 70's) because during the 80's, he seems like he isn't enjoying himself as much. Watching him play things that are so ridiculous and at the same time, acting like its no big deal is the best. He was given such a gift that I never get tired of watching him perform because he always does something that makes me rewind the video 17 times. If your a big Buddy fan, this will not disappoint!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
When I was young, I thought I was a "Hot" drummer. My biggest influences were Dave Clark and Ringo Starr. Then my high school band director played the Buddy Rich "Keep The Customer Satisfied" recording for me (1970) and my world of drumming changed. My Dad knew of Buddy and he let me stay up late to see him on the Johnny Carson Show and then took me to see him and his band at the Westchester N.Y Colliseum. It was then that I realized the Buddy Rich was truly "The Drum God" sent from Heaven making the rest of us only pretenders. This video shows Buddy at 60ish years of age playing with the chops and energy of a young kid. His solo in "Channel One" displays every rhythmic structure that exists. The amount of "independence" displayed is staggering and mesmorizing. When I couple this video with my "Rich at the Top" video which contains his impossible single stroke roll display in West Side Story (Slow to fast/Rims to Head etc.) I know that I have a complete collection of everthing possible that can be performed on a drum set. I saw Buddy perform that single stroke roll sequence in person many times and it was always many days before I had the nerve to pick up a pair of drum sticks again. I was lucky to see Mr. Rich up-close and live many times. I was able to meet him a few times and he was always cordial. I was at his club in New York the day Duke Ellington died and Buddy played a great tribute to him. When I realized that I could never play any where near up to Buddy's standard, I decided to become a band director where I could impart my love for music to kids in high school as well as let them know who Buddy was and show my Jazz Band Drummers the videos that exist that show the "Drum God" in action. My favorite Big Band has always been Count Basie, especially with Butch Miles as his drummer. In my opinion, Mr. Miles is the all-time greatest Big Band Drummer. His phrasing, chops, musicality, energy and unrelenting joy of playing is infectious and a treatise of how to play drums in a big band. However when it comes to immortality on the Drums, I am sure that even Butch Miles would agree that Buddy Rich had (and will never have) an equal. I consider myself very lucky to have been on planet earth during Buddy'd time.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2006
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
WOW

To those who had the chance to see Buddy perform live, you will know what I mean. This DVD brought back many wonderful memories of seeing Buddy live back in those days. I was especially delighted that "Birdland" was also on this dic.

Very enjoyable, Buddy being Buddy his solo is a classic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2012
Format: DVD
Sure was exciting to hear and play my chart, "Grand Concourse" at this concert. The band was that hot at least 95% of the time. The other 5% were usually our days off, which didn't happen too often.
Bob Kaye
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