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Gene Krupa (1909 - 1973)

A photo of Gene Krupa
Gene Krupa
1909 - 1973
Born
January 15, 1909
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois United States of America
Death
October 16, 1973
Yonkers, New York United States of America
Other Names
Gene Krupa
Summary
Gene Krupa was born on January 15, 1909 in Chicago, Illinois United States of America. He died on October 16, 1973 in Yonkers, New York United States of America at age 64.
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Updated: July 18, 2020
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Introduction
Gene Krupa was the most famous jazz drummer in history. I met him in the nineteen fifties at a telethon. He was very nice to me. His parents were Polish Catholics in Chicago. Anna (née Oslowski) and Bartłomiej Krupa
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Biography
Gene Krupa
Most commonly known as
Gene Krupa
Full name
Gene Krupa
Other names or aliases
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Gender
Gene Krupa was born on in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois United States of America
Birth
Gene Krupa died on in Yonkers, New York United States of America
Death
Birth
Death
There is no cause of death listed for Gene.
Cause of death
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Heritage

Ethnicity & Lineage

He was Polish. The youngest of Anna (née Oslowski) and Bartłomiej Krupa's nine children, Gene Krupa was born in Chicago. Bartłomiej was an immigrant from Poland. Anna was born in Shamokin, Pennsylvania and was also of Polish descent. His parents were Roman Catholics who groomed him for the priesthood.

Nationality & Locations

United States.
Childhood

Education

He spent his grammar school days at parochial schools. He attended the James H. Bowen High School on Chicago's southeast side. After graduation he attended Saint Joseph's College for a year but decided the priesthood was not his vocation.

Religion

His parents were Roman Catholics who groomed him for the priesthood.

Baptism

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Adulthood

Professions

Gene Krupa Born January 15, 1909 in Chicago, Illinois, USA Died October 16, 1973 in Yonkers, New York, USA (heart problems complicated by leukemia) Birth Name Eugene Bertram Krupa Height 5' 8" (1.73 m) Patty Bowler (23 April 1959 - 1968) ( divorced) ( 2 children) Ethel McGuire (1934 - 1942) ( divorced) Bandleader and drummer Inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1983. He was innovative. It was his idea to create the tunable tom-tom; he went to the Zildjian company and asked for thinner cymbals; he was the first drummer to record using a bass drum; he was one of the first drummers (if not the first) to use a hi-hat as we know it today; and the modern drum kit basically stems from his. Inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 1975. His band's theme song was "Apurksody", derived from a backwards spelling of 'Krupa' and the word 'rhapsody'. Along with Eddie Condon, Krupa moved from Chicago to New York in 1929 to work in theater pit bands (some under the direction of Red Nichols) alongside Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman. He also recorded with Bix Beiderbecke. Between late 1934 and 1938, Krupa came to fame as star drummer for Benny Goodman, but his high profile within the band, his showmanship and popularity with audiences, irritated Goodman and led to a public quarrel -- after which Krupa left to set up his own organisation. The Gene Krupa Orchestra became one of the most popular swing bands in the U.S., but it folded in 1943 after Krupa was arrested and jailed on a marijuana possession charge. Eventually rehabilitated after the charge was dropped (the chief witness recanted!), he was again voted the most outstanding drummer in the U.S. in January 1944 and soon started up another big band. Krupa is referred to by name on a couple of occasions in the 2000 film "Pollock". Painter Jackson Pollock was a jazz fan, and Gene Krupa was one of his favorite musicians. See also Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites

Personal Life

Gene moved to New York in 1929 and was recruited by Red Nichols. He along with Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller, performed in the pit band of the new George Gershwin play "Strike Up The Band." Krupa joined Russ Columbo's band which let to his joining Benny Goodman's band with a promise that it would be a real jazz band. He soon became discouraged as the band was relegated to playing dance music. Gene departed in 1938 forming his own orchestra which was an instant success upon opening at the Marine Ballroom on the Steel Pier in Atlantic City. During the bands tenure, he authored his own book titled, The Gene Krupa Drum Method." He appeared in several motion pictures including "Some Like it Hot" and "Beat the Band." The group took a hit when Krupa was charged with possession of marijuana and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was sentenced to 90 days, of which 84 were served. This incident triggered the demise of the band. Released from custody, Gene briefly joined up with Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey before reforming his own band. The revised band remained intact until 1950 long after the era of the Big Band was history.

Military Service

He entertained the troops during USO tours.
Obituary

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Amanda S. Stevenson commented on Apr 27, 2020
He entertained the troops during USO Tours.

Obituary

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Gene Krupa ORIGINAL NAME Eugene Bertram Krupa BIRTH 15 Jan 1909 Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA DEATH 16 Oct 1973 (aged 64) Yonkers, Westchester County, New York, USA BURIAL Holy Cross Cemetery and Mausoleums Calumet City, Cook County, Illinois, USA Show Map PLOT Immaculata, Block A, lot 22 Band Leader, Drummer. He was considered to be the first drum "soloist" by his introduction of extended interludes into jazz renditions which brought the drum to the forefront in music. He was born Eugene Bertram Krupa in Chicago, the youngest of Slovak immigrants Bartley and Ann Krupa's nine children. The death of Bartley left Ann with the burden of supporting the entire family by working as a milliner designing, making and trimming women's hats. All of the children found employment to help their mother. Gene, age eleven, worked as a chore boy for the Brown Music Company a store located on Chicago's South Side which led to his future as a drummer. He took a little of his wages to buy a musical instrument. The cheapest available were the drums. His education was garnished from the Catholic school system in Chicago. In deference to his religious mother, he enrolled at St. Joseph's College, a seminary prep school in Rensselaer, Indiana, with the intention of a vocation in the priesthood but washed out. The musically inclined Eugene was proficient at playing the sax while still in grammar school but joined his first band "The Frivolians" as a drummer. Upon entering high school, he became associated with the "Austin High Gang" a group of musicians which led to percussion studies with famous drummer Roy Knapp and joined the musicians union which led to performances with various Chicago commercial bands. Gene moved to New York in 1929 and was recruited by Red Nichols. He along with Benny Goodman and Glenn Miller, performed in the pit band of the new George Gershwin play "Strike Up The Band." Krupa joined Russ Columbo's band which let to his joining Benny Goodman's band with a promise that it would be a real jazz band. He soon became discouraged as the band was relegated to playing dance music. Gene departed in 1938 forming his own orchestra which was an instant success upon opening at the Marine Ballroom on the Steel Pier in Atlantic City. During the bands tenure, he authored his own book titled, The Gene Krupa Drum Method." He appeared in several motion pictures including "Some Like it Hot" and "Beat the Band." The group took a hit when Krupa was charged with possession of marijuana and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He was sentenced to 90 days, of which 84 were served. This incident triggered the demise of the band. Released from custody, Gene briefly joined up with Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey before reforming his own band. The revised band remained intact until 1950 long after the era of the Big Band was history. By the late fifties, Krupa was prompted to slow down due to increasing back problems and in 1960, a heart attack forced him into a long period of recuperation, reemerging to perform with the Goodman Quartet throughout the US and abroad. His health became a problem again and he retired for good in 1967. Gene's final public performance was with a reunion of the old Goodman Quartet in August 1973 giving a greatly diminished performance followed by his death in October at his home in Yonkers. Although he had been under treatment for leukemia for several years, the official cause of death was heart failure. The most charismatic and innovative drum legend of the Swing Era was gone at age 64 but remembered at a requiem mass held at St. Denis Roman Catholic Church in Yonkers. Goodman, Freeman and McPartland gathered to pay their last respects. His body was transferred back to Chicago with burial in the family plot at Holy Cross Cemetery, Calumet City. Legacy...Gene Krupa will forever be known as the man who made drums a solo instrument. He single-handedly made the Slingerland Drum Company a success and inspired thousands to become drummers. His level of showmanship has never been equaled. His name is forever linked and synonymous with the drum. He convinced H.H. Slingerland of Slingerland Drums, to make tuneable tom-toms which gave one the ability to change the sound. The new drum design was introduced in 1936 named "Separate Tension Tunable Tom-Toms." He is considered "The Pioneer of the Modern Drum Set" and the company even today sells the a Gene Krupa Set with his signature plate mounted on the bass drum. Gene was a loyal endorser of Slingerland Drums until his death. He was inducted into the Big Band and Jazz Hall of Fame in 1983. In 1959, actor Sal Mineo portrayed Gene in the motion picture "The Gene Krupa Story." The film was very loose in the facts of Gene's career but did feature an excellent soundtrack recorded by Krupa himself. Bio by: Donald Greyfield Family Members Parents Bartlomiej Krupa 1863–1916 Anna Olszewska Krupa 1865–1928 Siblings Kazimierz Krupa 1895–1908 Leo Krupa 1896–1937 Peter B. Krupa 1901–1969 Photo Julius B. Krupa 1906–1985 Photo Marjanna Krupa 1906–1924 Inscription SON Alaiyo on 11 Feb 2020 "Mr. Krupa, to me you were one of the most coolest drummer of the 20th. I just love your drum solo of drum boogie clip movie “Ball of Fire” WOW..! RIPin Eternity." Left by Gracie on 19 Jan 2020
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1909 - 1973 World Events

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In 1909, in the year that Gene Krupa was born, explorer Robert Peary, a Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy, claimed to have been the first to have reached the geographic North Pole. His claim has been disputed for over a century - some say that he ended up 60 miles from the North Pole. Peary was the only navigator on his team and he didn't submit his records for public review.

In 1916, at the age of merely 7 years old, Gene was alive when the Battle of Verdun was fought from February through December. It was the largest and longest battle of World War I, lasting 303 days. The original estimates were 714,231 casualties - 377,231 French and 337,000 German, an average of 70,000 casualties a month. Current estimates are even larger. The Battle of the Somme was also fought from July through September of the same year. Original estimates were 485,000 British and French casualties and 630,000 German casualties.

In 1931, he was 22 years old when in March, “The Star Spangled Banner” officially became the national anthem by congressional resolution. Other songs had previously been used - among them, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee", "God Bless America", and "America the Beautiful". There was fierce debate about making "The Star Spangled Banner" the national anthem - Southerners and veterans organizations supported it, pacifists and educators opposed it.

In 1940, at the age of 31 years old, Gene was alive when on November 5th, President Franklin Roosevelt was elected to a third term, defeating Wendell Willkie of Indiana (a corporate lawyer). Roosevelt running for a third term was controversial. But the U.S. was emerging from the Great Recession and he promised that he would not involve the country in any foreign war (which of course changed when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor). Roosevelt defeated Willkie in the popular vote by 54.7 to 44.8% and in the Electoral College 449 to 82.

In 1973, in the year of Gene Krupa's passing, on August 15th, amidst rising calls for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon, Congress imposed an end to the bombing of Cambodia.

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