With a his “Purdie Shuffle” firmly in the musical lexicon as a required skill for serious drummers everywhere, and with thousands of recordings for a host of marquis artists, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, music’s “Little Old Hit Maker” has established himself as a legend in the history drumming.
Bernard’s specialty is laying down grooves that make music feel good. His storied career includes work with the likes of James Brown, Jeff Beck, Steely Dan, Aretha Franklin, Gil Scott-Heron, King Curtis, Ray Charles, Roberta Flack, The Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Randy Brecker, Quincy Jones, Hall & Oates, Isaac Hayes, Cat Stevens and many, many more. He’s recorded 20 albums as a bandleader or co-leader and played live with many of these greats as well, including five years as musical director for Aretha Franklin.
Today he continues to perform and record and is a popular and in-demand clinician and teacher. A recent project found him on Broadway coming full circle by playing on the revival of Hair, for which he contributed many of the original drum parts.
So the next time you year the funky breakdown in Aretha’s Rock Steady, or feel the infectious groove of the halftime shuffle in Steely Dan’s Babylon Sisters, take a moment and tip your hat to one of the most recorded drummers in history, the great Bernard Purdie.