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Ray Bauduc (June 18, 1906 – January 8, 1988) was a jazz drummer best known for his work with the Bob Crosby Orchestra and their band-within-a-band, the Bobcats, between 1935 and 1942.
Bauduc was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was the son of the cornetist Jules Bauduc and his elder brother Jules was also a professional musician, a banjoist-bandleader. Ray Bauduc's youthful work in New Orleans included stints in the band of Johnny Bayersdorffer and early radio broadcasts. His New Orleans origins instilled in him a love for two-beat drumming, which he retained even when he played with Bob Crosby's swing era big band. In 1926 he moved to New York City to join Joe Venuti's band. His other work in the 1920s include recording sessions with the Original Memphis Five and a stint in the Scranton Sirens which also included Tommy Dorsey and Jimmy Dorsey.
His stint with the Bob Crosby Orchestra brought him national fame. He co-composed, together with bassist Bob Haggart, the two big hits that the Bob Crosby orchestra achieved: "South Rampart Street Parade" (a New Orleans parade-type number first recorded in November 1937), and "Big Noise from Winnetka" (a bass and drums duet with Haggart, recorded in 1938).
His style, making use of woodblocks, cowbells, the China cymbal and tom-toms, marked him out from most drummers of the swing era, and made him one of the few white drummers (the others being George Wettling, Dave Tough and Gene Krupa, but they were not so obvious) to be directly influenced by Warren "Baby" Dodds.
Ray Bauduc was a trend setter in traditional jazz circles. His precise, disciplined, yet fiery patterns and syncopated fills helped New Orleans drummers make the transition into swing from the rigid, clipped progressions that had defined the previous era. The son of the great cornetist Jules Bauduc, his brother Jules Jr. taught Bauduc drums. His sister was also a musician, a pianist. Bauduc's first professional job came with a band that accompanied films.
Bauduc served in the U.S. Army Artillery Band until November 1944. Upon his discharge he and former Crosby group leader Gil Rodin formed a short-lived big band. Bauduc toured with a septet in 1946 and also worked in Tommy Dorsey's orchestra from August to October of the year. In early 1947 he joined Bob Crosby's new group, leaving in 1948 to play with Jimmy Dorsey, where he stayed for the next two years. He freelanced on the West Coast for a couple of years before joining Jack Teagarden in 1952.
In 1955 he formed a band with fellow Crosby alumnus Nappy Lamare. The new outfit found considerable success, touring nationally and recording several albums. He retired to Bellaire, Texas, in the early 1960s.
From 1960, Bauduc lived in Bellaire, Texas in semi-retirement, but visited New Orleans in 1983 where he was greeted effusively. He also appeared occasionally at Crosby Orchestra reunions and worked with Pud Brown on several recordings His best known student from his teaching days in Bellaire, Texas is Charlie Harrington.
After the break-up of the Crosby band, Bauduc organized his own small groups (often in a swing or even bebop style), rejoined Bob Crosby for occasional reunions, worked with Jimmy Dorsey (1948) and Jack Teagarden (1952–55), before joining fellow ex-Bobcat Nappy Lamare in a highly successful dixieland band that lasted until 1960, after which Bauduc went into semi-retirement in Bellaire, Texas. He died in Houston, Texas on January 8, 1988.
- New Orleans Jazz, A Family Album. Al Rose and Edmond Souchon, third edition, Louisiana State University Press 1984