I would start this off by saying “Metal Drummers Are Bummed,” except no metal drummer I am friends with knows who Louie Bellson was. I had no idea either until I head that he died, and that the term “double kick” is forever attached to his name.
Bellson’s performance credits include collaborations with a who’s-who of jazz. He’s best remembered for his work in late Swing Era big bands â€” Benny Goodman, Harry James, Tommy Dorsey, Count Basie and Duke Ellington, among others â€” and for leading his own ensemble.
But Bellson was also an arranger and composer of more than 1,000 pieces. Perhaps his most famous tune, “Skin Deep,” was written during his tenure in Ellington’s orchestra.
When he was 15 he began using two kick drums on his kit, allowing for crazy amounts of awesomeness in his solos. This technique would be copied by other jazz drummers, and soon rock and metal drummers, notably Keith Moon of The Who. Bellson also eventually became the vice president at REMO. But, as I stated at the Top: DUDE INVENTED THE CONCEPT OF THE DOUBLE KICK. Now that’s the kind of person I want walking this earth. RIP Bellson.