Birdland – 1978

Buddy Rich Orchestra

A stirring version of the Weather Report hit

Buddy Rich, who was arguably the greatest drummer of all time, loved to play with big bands, working along the way with Tommy Dorsey, Harry James and occasionally Count Basie.

While he led a big band for a little while in the late 1940s, he had more success later on when he headed his own orchestra on and off during 1966-87.

He was among the first to “cover” Weather Report’s big hit “Birdland” and the first to record it with a big band.

On this version from 1978, Rich drives his band, Steve Marcus takes an inventive and hypnotic soprano solo, and the ensemble (with electric bassist Tom Warrington) gets into an infectious groove.

-Scott Yanow