[Bernard Purdie album cover]

Bernard Purdie
Master Drummers

Volume One & Two

Produced by Dan Prothero
Label: (out of print)
File Under: Samples / Breakbeats
Release Date: March 1, 1994

Sample: He Liked It Too

Other titles in this series:

Mike Clark - Master Drummers volume three

You may also dig the Bulldog Breaks series...

[Purdie at the traps]

Bernard Purdie
(at the Master Drummers session)


The "Master Drummers" series is a tribute to the drummers of the early seventies who were the backbone of that organic, mysterious, and messy music called funk.

Over the last thirty years or so, in response to the disappearance of the funk, fanatics have clung to party grooves like James Brown's "Funky Drummer" (and a thousand other small label singles) and elevated them to the level of classics. To this day, beat scrutinizers the world over scour record stores for these rare grooves like young archaeologists unearthing a lost civilization. Some of these archivists are music producers who get their rhythmic inspiration from the impossibly funky breakdowns on these jams.

All of which makes this the perfect time to go back to the creators of this music, roll tape, and make sure there is no mistaking what the funk is and where it came from.

Volume one features Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, who is perhaps America's most recorded drummer. His credits number literally thousands of drum-heavy grooves (including Aretha Franklin's "Rock Steady"), funk standards (James Brown, King Curtis, etc.), jazz greats (Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Kynard, Boog aloo Joe Jones, Grover Washington Jr., etc.), pop hits (Steely Dan) and his own highly sought-after solo records ("Shaft", "Soul Drummer", etc.)

On the twelve tracks included here, Bernard revisits some classic moments in funk drumming and offers up some fat new funkies as well. All, of course, stamped with the indelible Purdie sound. What you have here are raw, unadulterated drum solos and loops for drummers, musicians, deejays and beat freaks alike. Offered in the hope that more people like you will help keep the funk alive.

Since its release, the drum grooves on Master Drummers Volume One have been sampled by DJ Krush, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Soul Immigrants (Germany), and many others.

"Right on. Bernard 'Pretty' Purdie - one of the world's most recorded drummers and stickmaster for musicians like James Brown, Aretha Franklin, King Curtis, and Steely Dan - is at the helm of the first two albums in this tribute. These are definitely not your standard 'four bars of 783 distinctly different loops for your sampling pleasure' kind of CDs. They are nitty-gritty, move-your-booty, deep down funk. All cuts are brand new and, except for the first one on Volume 2, in song form. In other words, just as if you would solo the entire drum track from a tune on the radio. This means they rank very low on the convenience scale if you need to find well-catalogued groove and fill segments to blow into your sampler. However, the upside is that you'll get to hear how one of the true masters of rock-solid session drumming fits it all together. They're also an absolute blast to just sit down and jam with. Greg enthuses, 'This is classic Bernard. Like a locomotive chugging down the tracks, Purdie is one of the greatest shufflers ever.' "
- Keyboard Magazine, September 1996

"PURDIE, BERNARD (PRETTY), drums; b. Elkton, MD, 6/11/39. Started playing drums at age six. Gained experience sitting-in until he got his own set at 15. Led an otherwise all-white country & western band. First black man to graduate from El kton High School. Attended Morgan State Coll, for two yrs. To NYC where he recorded with Mickey & Sylvia; worked for Lonnie Youngblood; Les Cooper. Active making demo recordings for NY studios. By '66 was doing between 15 and 20 dates a week. Gene rally credited with developing and popularizing the 'boogaloo' beat permeating soul music. 'The beat -- the bass drum thing,' he says, 'had been around for a while, but until the engineers learned how to record it properly, nothing happened.' His busy schedule led him to recording work with James Brown, the Beatles, Blood Sweat & Tears, the Isley Brothers, Jimmy Smith. Own band, P.P. Mavins appear in Conn. and NY metropolitan area. Credits Sticks Evans for teaching him to read fast after he ar rived in NYC. Has been active as a teacher; at one time had 60 students until playing time interfered."
- Leonard Feather, Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Seventies, 1976

"PURDIE, BERNARD (PRETTY), (b. Elkton, MD, 11 June 1939). Drummer. After moving to New York in 1960, he worked as a studio musician, recording with the soul singer James Brown, King Curtis, etc. As the drummer for the recording company CTI (1968-74) he recorded with various musicians, including Grover Washington, Jr. In 1970 he toured with Curtis and the soul singer Aretha Franklin; he was Franklin's music director during the next five years. He continued to work in studios in the 1970s and recorded with a number of jazz performers, among them Louis Armstrong (1970) and Gato Barbieri (1971, c1973), and many rock and pop musicians. In 1980 he recorded at the Montreaux International Jazz Festival with Dizzy Gillespie, with whom he toured in 1982-3. He made three recordings with Hank Crawford (1983-5). Purdie is best known for his work with soul musicians in the 1960s and as an innovator in the funk style of drumming in the 1970s. His playing is characterized by a reliance on precise, syncopated ostinatos rather than busy technique."
- Rick Mattingly, The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, 1995


An unofficial discography of some of our favorite Bernard Purdie moments from the past:

  • Ayers, Roy - Vibrations (check out "Baby You Give Me A Feeling" and "Higher")
  • Brown, James - It's a Man's Man's Man's World
  • Hammond, Johnny - Soul Talk
  • Heron, Gil Scott - Small Talk On Lenox & 125th
  • Franklin, Aretha - "Rock Steady"
  • Jones, Boogaloo Joe - Right On Brother (check out "Right On")
  • Kynard, Charles - Afro-Disiac (check out "Sweetheart")
  • Last Poets - Delights of the Garden (check out "It's A Trip")
  • Lateef, Yusef - The Diverse Lateef
  • Pucho & The Latin Soul Brothers - Jungle Fire
  • Pucho & The Latin Soul Brothers - Heat (check out "Got Myself A Good Man")
  • Purdie, Bernard - Shaft
  • Purdie, Bernard - Soul Drummer
  • Purdie, Bernard - Soul Is... Pretty Purdie

Our growing attempt to list the thousands of dates Bernard has put in:

  • Beatles - (NOTE: there is a bit of an enigma here. He claims or is rumored to have played on the white album and "Lady Madonna" among others)
  • Crawford, Hank - Roadhouse Symphony
  • Davis, Miles - "Red China Blues"
  • Franklin, Aretha - Live at the Fillmore West
  • Gillespie, Dizzie - Dizzy Gillespie at Montreaux
  • Jazzmatazz - volume two
  • King Curtis - Live at the Fillmore West
  • Sheridan, Tony - "Aint She Sweet" (ATCO)
  • Steely Dan - Aja
  • Steely Dan - Gaucho
  • Steely Dan - Royal Scam