Not So Modern Drummer continues to feature the true-life adventures of Jack Scarangella in our new ongoing series. Continued from Chapter Two
………We went Wow!! - He's going to play with Buddy Rich. In anticipation, our eyes were all over the studio as the band found their seats while waiting for Buddy’s arrival. Suddenly, coming through the door was the man himself … Walking tall, and dressed impeccably in a white turtle-necked sweater.
It was like a dream...He comes over - says hello to John and I then gets behind the drums and counts off the band. Buddy jumps right into ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’…It was incredible and totally beyond our imagination. Buddy and the band were recording tunes in one or two takes. It was riveting… Buddy's energy and command was unlike anything I had ever seen.
He then counted off ‘A Piece Of The Road Suite…We were spellbound watching Buddy’s brush technique. Then he took a drum solo, which was probably the best I’ve ever seen and heard. He was playing at a musical level that was unexplainable.
A little later Buddy comes over puts his arm around me and says; Jack would you play for me? Picture this: A fifteen-year old kid sitting behind Buddy Rich’s drums. I still don’t have the words to describe how incredible that felt. Buddy sits down, crosses his legs, lights up a cigarette and says - “OK Jack, Play.” ..My life flashed right in front of me; here was the moment of truth.
I played every Buddy Rich lick I knew including his intro and solo from ‘West Side Story’. Flooding his cymbals to the opening with snare drum accents, and ending my solo the way Buddy did, with powerful fours on the crash cymbals. Everything else was a blur. I could see Buddy standing up and cheering with the whole band behind him applauding loudly.
It was overwhelming - like a dream come true. Putting his arm around me once again…Buddy takes me aside while I’m asking him, do you think I’m any good? do you think I’ll make it? He then said the words that changed my life forever…”I’ve never heard anyone do me like you.”
All I have become was because of Buddy. I owe him more than I could ever return. Years later, his last words to me were - that he loved me, and to take care of myself. My feelings for Buddy are infinite...The air was different being around him – He was the Heroes’ Hero – I know from being with him for a lifetime. Until we meet again - Miss you Buddy - One day… I hope to be with you forever.