Rock Falls Tourism is incredibly excited and honored to announce the BELLSON MUSIC FEST on Saturday, June 18th, at the RB&W Park in Rock Falls, Illinois.
The all-day event will celebrate the life and legacy of Rock Falls native son Louie Bellson (1924-2009), the world renowned big-band drummer, bandleader and composer.
Hosted by Rock Falls Tourism, the event is being organized in close association with Bellson’s widow Francine Bellson and music director Josh Duffee of Davenport, Iowa.
Festivities kick off with a Seminar on Louie Bellson by Josh Duffee, at noon, at the McCormick Event Center. Then, four bands are scheduled to perform from 2:00 pm to 9:30 pm at the RB&W Park. Josh Duffee & His Orchestra; Joel Paterson Trio; Pippi Ardennia & Daniel Leahy; the Rock River Jazz Band, Inc. Award-winning radio host, Denny Farrell, will emcee this spectacular event.
An internationally acclaimed artist, drummer, bandleader and composer, Louie Bellson was deemed “the world’s greatest musician” by
Duke Ellington, and “the best person I ever met” by Tony Bennett.
He performed on more than 200 albums with artists such as Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, etc. Vocalists include Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, and Bellson’s first wife Pearl Bailey.
Film appearances in the 1940’s include: “The Gang’s All Here,” “Stage Door Canteen,” “A Song Is Born,” etc. He served as musical director for his late wife Pearl Bailey’s concerts and TV show. Further, Bellson is credited with invention of the double-bass drum.
As a composer and author, Bellson wrote more than 1,000 compositions and more than a dozen books on drums and percussion. A six-time Grammy nominee, he received the prestigious American Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1994.