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This project was made possible by funding through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy and the Heritage Policy Branch of the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Canadian Heritage

Louise Bellson


LOUIE BELLSON (drummer, composer, author educator) was born Luigi Paolino Balassoni on July 6, 1924 in Rock Falls, Illinois and passed away February 14, 2009. Considered one of the greatest jazz drummers, Bellson was the winner of the Gene Krupa drum contest in 1940 and went on to play in the bands of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James and Duke Ellington. In addition to small combo work he was musical director for his wife, performer Pearl Bailey. As a composer he has more than 1,000 works to his credit as well as numerous books on drum technique. Among his many honours, in recognition of his contributions as a performer and educator he received four honorary doctorates.