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    Brush With Greatness - Bud Schmidt

    This week we hear from listener Bud from Hanover:

    It was 1975, my parents -- neither one liked jazz -- but they were kind enough to take me to Toronto to hear my drum hero Buddy Rich. It was at a new club called Zodiac 1. Now, Buddy Rich usually traveled with a big band but this gig was a quartet; Jimmy Mc Griff on organ, Sam Woods (alto sax) and Jack Wilkins on guitar. Our table was close to a door and my mother noticed Buddy Rich standing there talking to someone, complaining that the bandstand was too far from the audience. There was a small dance floor between drums and tables. It was the disco era. I heard him say he’d go home if anyone got up to dance. None of this surprised me because I knew my hero was known to be ... difficult.
    Meanwhile, my mother is pushing me telling me to get his autograph. Well, I’m shy to begin with and it doesn’t look cool and I, at least, want to pretend I’m cool.
    So my mother starts yelling at him “Buddy Rich ... my son wants your autograph!”
    I tell her he’s not the type that does that and can’t you see he’s in a bad mood?
    She now yells “He’s got all your records! Come and give him your autograph!!”
    So ... now, he walks over, looking mean but he shakes my hand saying nice meeting you. He gave me his autograph.  So I thought he was a gentleman. Another reason I was shy was because  being a teenager I had to be the youngest person there. Rich would’ve been in his mid 50’s, so I thought I’m probably unimportant to him.
    But then, years later, reading his biography written by his old singing pal Mel Torme,  Mel stated that Buddy’s favourite audience members were the younger ones because they choose music that sounds new and hip and that made Buddy Rich feel good. So I like to think back now that maybe I made him feel good. And whatever that other problem was, it didn’t interfere. The performance was good as it gets.

    Bud Schmidt, Hanover Ontario.



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