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Chicago with King Oliver 35 years ago, as the first to extract the full potential from the bass drum. Like the string bass, it became part of the foundation of every jazz group, furnishing a pulsating rhythmic undercurrent that had to flow evenly through every performance.
The first important white drummers of the 1920s were Ben Pollack, the Chicagoan heard with the New Orleans Rhythm Kings and from 1925 with his own band; Ray Bauduc, from New Orleans, who took over the drums in Pollack's orchestra when the latter devoted himself to conducting; and Chauncey Morehouse, heard on most of the Bix and Trumbauer records and one of the first to use the high-hat cymbal to distinctive effect There is regrettably little recorded evidence of the actual performances of these drummers, since the early recording systems were limited in the frequency range they could handle and the use of the bass drum was forbidden at record sessions. A mild sensation was created upon the release, early in 1928, of four titles by McKenzie and Condon's Chicagoans in which Gene Krupa set a precedent by including a bass drum in his equipment.
Krupa, Dave Tough and George Wettling, all about the same .age, had roughly parallel careers, playing in Chicago during the 1920s and later settling in New York. Wettling most clearly reflected the influence of Baby Dodds; Tough, a diminutive figure who looked scarcely strong enough to lift a pair of mallets, was credited with the most dynamic and sensitive use of cymbals and evolved from a career in small combos to a decade of great distinction with many name bands before his death in 1948.
Gene Krupa, who in recent years has been Cozy Cole's partner in a drum school, and who in his early days spent endless hours in the informal tuition offered by Chicago's Negro drummers, recently said: "Any idea that I knew anything about skins had to go out the window once I started hitting those South Side joints. For one thing, I had no idea of the wide range of effect you could get from a set of drums. I picked up from Zutty Singleton and Baby Dodds the difference between starting a roll or sequence of beats with the left or right hand and how the tone and inflection changed entirely when you shifted hands. Those Negro drummers did it nonchalantly as though it were a game.