If drums talked, this one could tell you amazing stories. For more than 30 years it was the “house” drum at the legendary Columbia Records 30th Street Studio in New York City. When the studio closed its doors in 1982, the drum was headed for the dumpster. But one of the engineers, a drummer, asked if he could have it. The studio gave it to him and 38 years later its owner is now ready now find it a new home. It is now for sale on consignment through Vintage Drum Center.
ABOUT THE PHOTOS:
In 1957 a LIFE magazine article featured a story and photos of Tony Bennett in a session at the 30th street Columbia Records studio. Pappa Jo Jones was the session drummer and played a 2 pc kit. The drums were a Gladstone snare and the 1920’s “Ludwig Artists Special” bass drum. As you can see in our studio photos, the drum was stenciled “CRI” which marked the instrument as property of Columbia Recording Studios, Inc. (many busy drummers didn’t want to haul around their entire set and would often use gear provided by a studio.)
The studio, formerly an abandoned Armenian Greek Orthodox church, was purchased by Columbia Records in 1949. They transformed it into one of the world’s greatest recording studios where some of the most esteemed and dynamic entertainers left their contribution to the music history. Among them was Tony Bennett, Duke Ellington, Bob Dylan, Benny Goodman, Pink Floyd, Barbara Streisand, Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, Thelonius Monk, Dizzy Gillespie, Carlos Santana, Dave Brubeck, Percy Faith and Johnny Mathis.
Bass drum size 12.5″ x 27″. Original calf heads, single tension. We have inspected this drum: it is in full functional condition and graded as “good” due to obvious wear. Although the patina of the finish looks vintage and original, the Ludwig badge has been painted over. This indicates that the drum shell was probably re-lacquered many decades ago. Two exterior eyelet washers are missing.
ALSO INCLUDED: “LIFE Unseen: Tony Bennett” a 2015 TIME/LIFE special publications book featuring the 1957 session photo (see photo #3) and a letter of documentation from the owner.