Drummer Gene Krupa performing at Gjon Mili’s studio. NYC, 1941

*Amazing* photographs from LIFE Magazine’s photo archives. Originally featured in the July 9th, 1941 article, “GENE KRUPA SHOWS HOW TO PLAY DRUM IN THESE FANTASTIC SOUND PICTURES.

In these unusual shots Krupa illustrates some rudiments of drumming. They were taken by Gjon Mili’s multiple-exposure camera so you could follow the track of Krupa’s drumsticks whizzing through the air. But they are interesting also as impressionistic portraits of sound, suggesting the rhythmic pandemonium of a Krupa jam session.

….As a drum historian, he likes to tell how Napoleon Bonaparte was once defeated by Russians who were roused to a fighting frenzy by Cossack drummers. Says Krupa proudly, “I have Cossack blood myself.”

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