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Buzzy Drootin: 1920-2000
Buzzy Drootin

Born: April 22, 1920 in nr Kiev, Russia
Died: May 21, 2000 in Englewood, New Jersey

Versatile Drummer With Roots In Dixieland

Copyright © 2000 


Buzzy Drootin was the house drummer at Eddie Condon’s famous jazz bar in New York from 1947 to 1951. Condon’s saloon was a focal point for the Dixieland revival of the period, and Drootin played with all of the major figures in that revival at one time or another.

He was born Benjamin Drootin in his native Russia, but his family moved to the United States when he was only five, and settled in Boston. His father was a clarinetist, and two of his brothers were also musicians. He began playing the drums as a teenager, earning money in a local bar, and by 1940 he was touring with the Jess Stacy All-Stars, a band that included Buck Clayton and Lee Wiley.

As well as his stint at Condon’s, Drootin worked in clubs in Chicago and Boston, playing with musicians like Wingy Manone, Jimmy McPartland and Doc Cheatham. He played with The Dixieland All-Stars, The Jazz Giants and The Newport All-Stars, among other groups, while touring extensively in the United States and Europe.

He joined with his brother, Al Drootin, to form The Drootin Brothers Jazz Band in Boston in 1973. In the 1980's he appeared at the Los Angeles Classic Jazz Festival, backing up musicians like Wild Bill Davison and Chuck Hedges.

His recording credits spanned six decades, and include discs with Eddie Condon, Anita O'Day, Bobby Hackett, Dick Cary, Lee Konitz, Pee Wee Russell, Ralph Sutton, Ruby Braff, Serge Chaloff, Sidney Bechet and Wild Bill Davison.

In addition to his brother Al, he is survived by a daughter, Natasha; two sons, Peter and Tony; and two other brothers, Louie and Max.

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With 1 reader comment, posted January 23, 2005