Friday, April 26, 2013

Memories of a Jazz Journalist - Part Two - Buzzy Drootin

Here is a continuation of the new series of entries that come from an article that George wrote in 2004.

Drummer Buzzy Drootin (Braintree, MA), one of the most amusing characters I've ever met, didn't want me to mention in my story that he had told me that several of his jazz all-star colleagues were addicted to alcohol or drugs. When I told Buzzy that they were all dead, he said, "I know, but I don't want people to know I've been talking about them."

Benjamin "Buzzy" Drootin, whose family was Jewish, was born in Kiev, Ukraine on April 22, 1920. The family emigrated to the United States and settled in Boston, Massachusetts when he was five.

His family was musical, his father played the clarinet and both of his brothers also played instruments. Buzzy began playing the drums professionally as a teenager and for the next fifty years would play with some of the leading jazz musicians in America.

Jess Stacy
In the beginning though, he earned cash working in bars. He began touring  with the Jess Stacy All-Stars when he was about twenty. After the war he worked as the house drummer at Eddie Condon's in New York from 1947 until 1951.

Wingy Manone
Over the years in the 1950's and 1960's he worked in clubs in Chicago and Boston and played with musicians such as Jimmy McPartland, Doc Cheatham, and Wingy Manone. He also recorded with Tommy Dorsey, Bobby Hackett and the Dukes of Dixieland. Other musicians he played with were Chuck Hedges and Wild Bill Davison.

In 1973, after touring Europe and the States, he and his brother Al formed the Drootin Brothers Jazz Band. He played at the Los Angeles Classic Jazz Festival in the 1980's.

George A. Borgman interviewed Buzzy and wrote a story on him that was published in The Mississippi Rag.

He died, from cancer, on May 21, 2000, at the age of eighty at the Actors Fund Retirement and Nursing Home in Englewood, New Jersey. He had a daughter, Natasha and two sons, Peter and Tony.

Here Buzzy Drooton plays with the Wild Bill Davison All Stars in 1984 in Malmo, Sweden.

No comments:

Post a Comment