Maxim Gorky on…Buddy Rich?

March 31, 2008 at 12:30 am (jazz, Jim D, literature, music, wild man)

Gorky didn’t like jazz; in a 1928 article he described it thus:

“An idiotic little hammer knocks drily: one, two, three, ten, twenty knocks. Then, like a clod of mud thrown into crystal-clear water, there is wild screaming, hissing, rattling, wailing, moaning, cackling. Bestial cries are heard: neighing horses, the squeal of a brass pig, crying jackasses, amorous quacks of a monstrous toad…this excruciating medley of brutal sounds is subordinated to a barely perceptible rhythm. Listening to this screaming music for a minute or two, one conjures up an orchestra of madmen, sexual maniacs, led by a man-stallion beating time with an enormous phallus.”

Did Gorky have a premonition of the Buddy Rich (b: 30 Sept 1917; d: 2 April 1987) Orchestra?

Belated hat-tip (from 2002): Dan Augustine


  1. Dr Paul said,

    A jazz musician dies and goes up to heaven. St Peter recognises him, and takes him for a stroll. ‘We’ve got them all up here’, he said proudly, pointing to a vast reeds section. ‘There’s John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Tubby Hayes, Eric Dolphy, John Gilmore…’

    The two of them strolled along for hours listening happily to so many of the musician’s heroes, but from around a corner came an horrendous din.

    ‘What on earth’s that?’ asked the horrified musician. St Peter replied:

    ‘Oh that’s God; he thinks he’s Buddy Rich.’

  2. Jim Denham said,

    Listen to Mr Rich giving his band a gentle pep-talk in the bus in the interval during a gig:

    [audio src="" /]

  3. daveinstokenewington said,

    On a drummer-related note; anybody know whatever happened to Tommy Chase, the UK sticks merchant who led rather a good hard bop outfit in the 1980s?

    • Baldie said,

      Tommy Chase did a gig in 1999 at The Jazz Cafe, but is no longer active. He lives in London and is enjoying retirement. 🙂

      • peter crowther said,

        is that the Tommy Chase who was the drummer with the Fat Rats that played in Warrington clubs in the early 1970’s?

      • Baldie said,

        Tommy is from Worsley originally and moved to London in the 70’s I believe. I shall ask him next time I chat to him…

    • Ricky Moore said,

      Tommy was indeed with the Fat Rats…in fact he was the Fat Rats and brilliant they were too. Tommy and I were very close for about 15 years particularly through the 1980’s when he fronted the best Hard Bop jazz band Britain has ever produced. The list of talent he nurtured is now recognised as Britain’s finest..from Alan Barnes to Andy Kleinhart Nic Wheldon to Gary the Hammond player. Ted the Trumpeter with the half fingers…I was with Tommy when they supprted Jimmy Smith at the old Town and Country club in Kentish Town.

      Jimmy Smith saw Gary on Hammond and shat himself…then Smith came on stage with his arm in plaster saying he had broken it and could only do a half shift…what a compliment to Tommy’s boys!! A legend feigns injury so as not to be exposed by raw talent blowing him off the planet..and Jimmy Smith is a GENIUS by the way.

      I have a thousand stories from that era…including Tommy knocking peoples teeth out on stage…drownings in Camden Lock…fights with Julian Doyle over music selection for the disastrous Absolute Beginners film and an entire group of musicians taking a crap under a bridge in Camden at 5am in the morning only to realise that we were shitting over a cardboard city sleepery ..bang on top of the poor bastards trying to get a nights kip.

      If you want more, just ask.


      • Nigel Filby said,

        Hi Ricky,
        reading your message(s) about Tommy C.
        I’m trying to put together a talk for my local Jazz Club on the Norfolk/Suffolk border on Tommy, but have found a proper biog. difficult to come by. or if he recorded after 1991.
        He was one of the reasons I started to listen to jazz.
        Can you help?

      • Yard Gavrilovic said,

        Can you ask Tommy if he remembers the Hi-Tide which my Mum Marie owned in Earls Court?

  4. Dr Paul said,

    Jim D: ‘Did Gorky have a premonition of the Buddy Rich?’

    Perhaps he had a premonition of John Coltrane’s Ascension.

  5. Jim Denham said,

    Dave: I’ve been busy searching for information about Tommy Chase and can’t find any trace of him since his success during the short-lived British “jazz boom” of the mid-to-late 1980’s. He really does seem to have disappeared into the night. His ex-sideman Alan Barnes is, however, still very much about: perhaps *he* knows what’s happened to the one-time king of British hard-bop.

    Paul: you’re pobably right that Gorky’s description applies better to latter-day ‘Trane than to Rich; Larkin wrote of ‘Ascension’ : “I can thoroughly endorse the sleeve of John Coltrane’s ‘Ascension’, (HMV) which says ‘this record cannot be loved or understood in one sitting.’ In fact I played it twice, but the double-sided carpet of bellowing and screeching laid down by Shepp, Hubbard, Marion Brown, Pharaoh Sanders , Tchicai, Dewey Johnson and the Master himself, patiently propelled by Tyner and Jones, held little appeal. Soloists appear and submerege like Titanic passengers.” That was one of Larkin’s less caustic comments about Coltrane, btw.

  6. Jim Denham said,

    The superb British drummer and arranger Allan Ganley died on 29 March. he was a musician’s musician: as well as being a supremely subtle and swinging drummer. He mastered all aspects of music and studied musical theory at the Berklee School of Music in Boston. He was the ultimate refutation of the stereotype of the drummer as a moronic, thumping shed-builder. Which is why John Fordham’s obit in today’s Graun, begins with a drummer joke I hadn’t heard before:

    Jittle Johnny: “Mummy, mummy, when I grow up I want to be a drummer.”

    Mummy: ” Don’t be daft: you can’t do both.”

  7. Jonathan (JAB) Butters said,

    I remember seeing the Tommy Chase Quartet around ’86/’87 in London – possibly the Bull at Barnes, the Wag or the Bass Cleff. He was very fast and impressive and was bringing on new tallent. A real star and generous guy like Art Blakey. He had a very feisty rant about the reviewer who reported on them in The Wire magazine and convinced us that he would kill the guy if he ever saw him at one of his gigs again! Memorable! He is the reason why I am now a jazz drummer!

    • Ricky said,

      Staying on the Tommy Chase theme – Drop me a line on and I will answer directly any thing I can on Tommy and his history.


  8. Angus said,

    I remember visiting Tommy’s house in west London sometime in the late 80’s. He’d bricked-up the front door and street facing windows and turned the living room into a sound-proofed rehearsal room. How his wife Wendy put up with this I don’t know !

  9. Edward J. Shields III said,

    A perfect description that shall never be surpassed! Good shot Gorky!

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