I have a picture of him at my desk, an elegantly dressed older man with wavy gray hair slicked back and hands that belonged on a stevedore. He's sitting with other lions of the skins -- Max Roach, Elvin Jones, Roy Haynes -- at some event in Boston. He looks like he just heard something unbelievable, which is likely given the company.
On Valentine's Day, the drummer born Luigi Paulino Alfredo Francesco Antonio Balassoni took his last solo. Louis Bellson, dead at age 84. He was reared in Illinois and as a pup he played with Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Lionel Hampon., you name it. He wrote and arranged more than 1,000 songs.
This video tribute comes from a battle with his rival, Buddy Rich. I'm not sure of its vintage, but it's choice.