US jazz bandleader and drummer, well known from the 1920's to the early 50's.
1909- Born - January 15th, Chicago, IL
1927 - Gene Krupa made history with his first record. For a session with the McKenzie-Condon Chicagoans, he became the first musician to use a full drum set on records. He was part of the Chicago jazz scene of the 1920s before moving to New York and worked in the studios during the early years of the Depression.
1938 he formed his own band, which, despite an arrest for marijuana 1943 (for which he was later cleared), continued in various forms until 1951.
1950's and 60's Krupa worked with smaller groups, participated in the Jazz at the Philharmonic events, and co-founded a drum school.
1959 saw the release of The Gene Krupa story, a film only broadly based on his life in which he was portrayed by Sal Mineo and for which he himself provided the soundtrack. Diminishing health and a heart-attack in 1960 led to greatly diminished activity for Krupa.
1967 - he announced he was retiring. Occasional returns to performance and a reunion with Benny Goodman followed until his passing.
-The influence of Gene Krupa upon the drumming profession can hardly be calculated. Through his work with countless other luminaries of the Big Band Era -- Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, and Glenn Miller to name just a few -- he helped to raise the instrument from its role as a simple time-keeping device into far greater prominence.
Many consider Krupa to be the most influential drummer of the 20th century, particularly with regard to the development of the drum kit.
Page last updated: 11:49am, 08