One Of The Originators Of The Extended Drum Solo, Louie Bellson

Louie Bellson was one of the most iconic drummers in music history and introduced the double bass drum. Photo courtesy of

In the swinging ’40s and ’50s, there were a lot of really great drummers that helped bring the drums to the forefront on the bandstand. Players like Jo Jones, Chick Webb, Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa were among some of these names. Another name that highlighted the drums as a solo instrument was Louie Bellson. Louie was considered one of the great early drummers, along with a lot of the other names mentioned above, but one of the greatest contributions Louie made to drumming was the use of double bass drums. Now in those days, they didn’t use a double bass drum pedal on one bass drum like today, they used two separate bass drums and set up the rest of the kit around them. This was pretty revolutionary at the time and there are many drummers throughout music history that have Louie to thank for that great contribution. I collected a couple performances featuring Louie Bellson in a variety of setting that I’m sure you’ll enjoy!

I’d like to start out with one of Louie’s famous drum solos from 1967 accompanied by some stellar jazz musicians. The video provides a few great camera angles during the solo so check it out at

For the next video, Louie Bellson joined up with other iconic drummers Steve Gadd, Vic Firth, Harvey Mason, Alex Acuna, and Dave Samuels. The result was a percussion ensemble piece sure to impress. Watch up to the very end for tap solos from Louie and Steve at

I hope you enjoyed listening to one of the most iconic drummers in music history. Louie Bellson was one of the best and he helped bring the drums to the forefront as a solo instrument for all of us to enjoy. There’s more coming your way at Play Drums By Ear so stay tuned.




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