Louie Bellson Dies of Parkinson’s Complications
Wed, 18 Feb 2009 16:20:30
Louie Bellson, a jazz/big band drummer for such legends as Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Firzgerald and Benny Goodman, died of Parkinson’s complications on Saturday at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. According to his wife, Francine, Bellson had suffered many health problems since breaking his hip in November. He was 84.
Bellson is best known for being one of the first double bass drummers. He wrote more than 1,000 compositions over the course of his career, including jazz, swing and ballet pieces. His last recording, “Louie & Clark Expedition 2” (featuring trumpeter Clark Terry), was released last year.
"I've been of the opinion that all a drummer really needs is one bass drum, a snare drum, some tom-toms, a ride cymbal, a crash cymbal, sticks and brushes," Bellson once told Jazz Connection. "If you can't do it with that, you better go back to the drawing board. The extra bass drum is frosting on the cake. It doesn't mean that every drummer needs to play two bass drums. For me, it works."
—The ARTISTdirect Staff