Gene Krupa (January 15, 1909 – October 16, 1973) was a famous and influential American jazz and big band drummer, known for his highly energetic and flamboyant style.
Many consider Krupa to be one of the most influential drummers of the 20th century, particularly regarding the development of the drum kit. Many jazz historians believe he made history in 1927 as the first kit drummer ever to record using a bass drum pedal. His drum method was published in 1938 and immediately became the standard text. He is also credited with inventing the rim shot on the snare drum. Rhythm, the UK’s best selling drum magazine voted Gene Krupa the third most influential drummer ever, in a poll conducted for its February 2009 issue. Voters included over 50 top-name drummers.
Krupa was born Eugene Bertram Krupa to Polish parents in Chicago, Illinois. He began playing professionally in the mid 1920s with bands in Wisconsin. He broke into the Chicago scene in 1927, when he was picked by MCA to become a member of “Thelma Terry and Her Playboys”, the first notable American Jazz band (outside of all-girl bands) to be led by a female musician. The Playboys were the house band at The Golden Pumpkin nightclub in Chicago and also toured extensively throughout the eastern and central United States.