Jazz Institute of Chicago

A Tribute from Marty Clausen

Barrett Deems

A Tribute from Marty Clausen
I met Barrett with Don Osborne, who was my high school classmate and a very good drummer. We were about sixteen, and you can imagine what a thrill it was to meet the guy billed as "The World's Fastest Drummer."
Barrett was working at the Dome Room of the Sherman Hotel. He had a trio featuring Ray Dixon on piano, and a bass player whose name, I'm sorry to say, I've forgotten. Don and I would enter the "band room" (a room about ten by ten), thru a door off the lobby of the Sherman. Barrett was always glad to see us, and he spent a lot of time showing us how to do things we wouldn't have learned in a million years on our own. I can't express how wonderful he was to me, and how much he made me feel welcome into that small fraternity of tub-thumpers.
Over the years he had great success with Louis Armstrong's group.....movies, records......everything. But when I'd see him at a record date, or just hanging out somewhere, he was still the kind, generous, far-out "Deems." I loved him, and he may just have been "The World's Fastest Drummer."
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