Louie Bellson

Louie Bellson (born Luigi Paulino Alfredo Francesco Antonio Balassoni on July 6, 1924 – February 14, 2009), known by the stage name Louie Bellson (his own preferred spelling, although he is often seen in sources as Louis Bellson), was an American jazz drummer. He was a composer, arranger, bandleader, and jazz educator, and is credited with pioneering the use of two bass drums.

Bellson performed in most of the major capitals around the world. Bellson and his wife, actress and singer Pearl Bailey (married from 1952 until Bailey’s death in 1990), had the second highest number of appearances at the White House (only Bob Hope had more).

Bellson was a vice president at Remo, a drum company. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1985.

Bellson was born in Rock Falls, Illinois in 1924, where his father owned a music store. He started playing drums at three years of age. While still a young child, Bellson’s father moved the family and music store to Moline, Illinois. At 15, he pioneered using two bass drums at the same time, a technique he invented in his high school art class. At age 17, he triumphed over 40,000 drummers to win the Slingerland National Gene Krupa contest.

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