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Freddie Gruber

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Freddie Gruber
Born(1927-05-27)May 27, 1927
The Bronx, New York[1]
OriginNew York City
DiedOctober 11, 2011(2011-10-11) (aged 84)
Los Angeles, California[2]
Years activec. 1946–2011
WebsiteOfficial web site

Freddie Gruber (May 27, 1927 – October 11, 2011) was an American jazz drummer and teacher to a number of professional drummers.[3][4][5]

Gruber grew up in the nascent New York City bebop scene. Although he started his performance career as a tap dancer, by the mid-1940s while still in his teens he had toured as a drummer with Rudy Vallée and played with Harry Gibson. In 1949 Gruber began playing with Charlie Parker among many others.[4]

After fighting his own heroin addiction, Gruber left New York City shortly after Parker's death in 1955. He settled in Los Angeles in 1957 after a stint in Las Vegas, where he continued working as a professional jazz drummer. Gruber began teaching drums in the mid-1960s at a Los Angeles music store owned by vibraphonist Terry Gibbs.[4]

Gruber's student list includes Vinnie Colaiuta, Eddie Rubin, Neil Peart,[6][7][8] Steve Smith,[9] Dave Weckl, Bruce Becker,[10] Joey Waronker,[11] Ross Garfield, and his last student before he died, Paul Goldberg. Gruber was an instructor and mentor at the Drum Channel Studio. Archived October 17, 2011, at the Wayback Machine[12]

On January 15, 2011, Gruber was honored at the NAMM Show in Anaheim, California, with a lifetime achievement award for educational excellence throughout his career.[13] The large framed award featured a classic photo of legendary jazz drummers: Buddy Rich,[14] Jo Jones (known as Papa Jo Jones in his later years), and Gruber himself. Under the photo was a plaque and a cymbal that was signed by Armand Zildjian's children.[15] Later in October 2011 Gruber died from illness.

Gruber's former drum student, Neil Peart of Rush, lauded Gruber in his literary and tutorial work.[16] Peart authored a biographical obituary tribute which was posted to the Hudson Music website and to Gruber's own web site.[1]


  1. ^ a b "In Memoriam: Freddie Gruber", Hudson Music
  2. ^ Tamarkin, Jeff. "Drummer Freddie Gruber Dies at 84" Archived December 14, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, JazzTimes, October 19, 2011. (accessed 13 December 2014)
  3. ^ Chamberlain, Rich. "Freddie Gruber dies aged 84", Rhythm Magazine
  4. ^ a b c Milkowski, Bill. "Freddie Gruber: None of a Kind" Archived December 20, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, JazzTimes, November 2004. (accessed 13 December 2014)
  5. ^ "Freddie Gruber", Drummerworld
  6. ^ ""NEWS, WEATHER, and SPORTS: November, 2008 - The Drums Of October" NeilPeart.net
  7. ^ Stav, Steve. "Percussion, photography cross paths in Rhythm & Light - Carrie Nuttall a.k.a. Mrs. Neil Peart" Archived December 14, 2014, at the Wayback Machine Ink 19 Magazine
  8. ^ Iwasaki, Scott. "Photos dramatize 'Rhythm and Light'", Deseret News
  9. ^ Robb, Gregory (November 1, 2003). "Borne of the elements: December 2003". All About Jazz. Retrieved August 4, 2010.
  10. ^ Hood, Phil. "A Conversation With Freddie Gruber" Archived October 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine Drum Magazine.
  11. ^ "OTR Vol. 2 - Joey Waronker" on YouTube
  12. ^ "DC LIVE with Freddie Gruber and Former Students" Archived November 3, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Drum Channel
  13. ^ 2011 "Lifetime Achievement Award for Education from Zildjian", Zildjian Company Flickr Group
  14. ^ Dolbear, Mike. "Interview with Daniel Glass",MikeDolBear Official Website
  15. ^ DeChristopher, John. "Zildjian family remembers Freddie Gruber" Archived October 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Zildjian
  16. ^ Peart, Neil (2002) [originally released on VHS in 1996]. A Work in Progress (DVD video, DVD-ROM with Internet features, 2 booklets). Warner Bros. Classics. produced and directed by Paul Siegel, Rob Wallis ; production, Langa Communications. Miami, Florida: Warner Bros. Publications. ISBN 9780757990298. OCLC 52762882. Retrieved May 23, 2013.


  • Jazz Improv Magazine Tribute to Buddy Rich: "Way Beyond Drums, Buddy Rich, A Portrait of the Man." (Spring 2006)
  • The Commandments of Early Rhythm and Blues Drumming - by Zoro and Daniel Glass (2008)
  • Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road - by Neil Peart (2002)
  • Travelling Music: Traveling Music : The Soundtrack to My Life and Times - by Neil Peart (2003)
  • Rhythm and Light - by Carrie Nuttall (2005)
  • Rush: Chemistry : The Definitive Biography - by Jon Collins (2005)
  • Roadshow : Landscape With Drums: A Concert Tour by Motorcycle - by Neil Peart (2006)
  • Far and Away: A Prize Every Time - by Neil Peart (2011)
  • Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage (2010)
  • A Work in Progress