I am going to admit something here on BAP today - I have had an enormous crush on Gene Krupa, the jazz drummer, pretty much all my life. The fact that he died when I was 11 really doesn't enter into it. I love watching clips of him playing - he seems to be having so much fun -- and I love listening to his fabulously energetic and inventive drum solos. Besides, I think he was really cute. Really cute - especially when that lock of black hair would fall across his forehead when he got rocking.
Krupa wasn't just a glamour-boy - he essentially invented the drum solo as an integral part of a musical number, rather than drums just providing background percussive rhythm. Generations of drummers who came after him, including Buddy Rich, have acknowledged their debt to his innovative playing.
Krupa's most well-known number is probably "Sing Sing Sing," which he recorded with Benny Goodman's band in 1937. The number is an astonishing 8 minutes and 40 seconds long - and Krupa plays full-speed ahead through the whole song.
In this clip, you can see Krupa's joyous energy - this piece features Krupa's own band (I'm not sure of the date).
Finally - here's a clip from the 1941 movie "Ball of Fire," starring Barbara Stanwyck (who knew she could sing?) and Gary Cooper, in which Krupa proves that he could even make matchsticks swing.