Basic Background Info
New York native Freddie Gruber is a man among legends. Freddie Gruber played in a rare big band with Charlie Parker, Zoot Simms, and Red Rodney. He was fortunate enough to tour with jazz clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, and he was a roommate to friend and drummer, Buddy Rich.
While young Freddie Gruber played throughout the New York jazz scene, noted jazz writer Barry Ulanov anointed Freddie the heir of the jazz throne left behind by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. Freddie Gruber also garnered media attention while playing with Buddy DeFranco. A Downbeat review read: "Buddy DeFranco brought in to the Blue Note (Chicago)... a drummer who is potentially the greatest. He's Fred Gruber, a young New Yorker who needs only more experience working with a group to be tabbed the Find of the Year. His playing is a thing to behold."
Shortly thereafter, Downbeat magazine included Freddie Gruber in their list of top drummers for “his ability to play multiple rhythms, his constant playing behind the band and what seemed like his impeccable taste in his choice of what to play… It shouldn’t be long before in any list of modern drummers you’ll be able to find Freddie’s name. And it won’t be very far from the top.”
In addition to his laudable career as a performer, Freddie was as astute educator. His students included Vinnie Colaiuta, Neil Peart, Steve Smith, Dave Weckl, Ian Wallace, Mike Baird, Peter Erskine, Mitch Mitchell, Jim Keltner, Gregg Bissonette, Clayton, Cameron, Bruce Becker, and countless others. Freddie Gruber always taught his students to consider the drumstick as an extension of their hand. Freddie Gruber's observations of Buddy Rich’s style, technique, and guts inspired his teaching methods for many years. Freddie’s teaching wasn’t completely altruistic; he also enjoyed learning from his students. “As you teach, you continually learn. It’s endless and it’s a true joy,” says Freddie.
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