Legendary Drummer Bernard Purdie Says He Learned Every Type Of Music | WBEZ
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Morning Shift

Legendary Drummer Bernard Purdie Says He Learned Every Type Of Music

Musicians have called Bernard Purdie one of the most recorded drummers in history and his style is described as “the funkiest soul beat in the business.”

From Nina Simone to Steely Dan, Joe Cocker to Miles Davis or BB King to Cat Stevens — the list of Purdie's recording partners is long. Purdie was also the long-time drummer and musical director for Aretha Franklin.

"I learned every type of music there is to learn," Purdie said about his musical beginnings Friday on Morning Shift. 

"You name it, I did it. But it was just a way of making sure that you know what's going on — and get the music, get the people to dance."

Purdie is in town Friday to play with Deacon Blues at America’s All-Star Tribute to Steely Dan at the Arcada theater in St. Charles.

"I know how to play to a vocalist," Purdie said about his experience working with famous vocalists. "I get inside them. And that was part of my energy that my teacher, Mr. Haywood — he says, 'You listen, you never, never overplay when they're singing. And if you do this, they will like you, they will appreciate you, and they will pay you.' "

The prolific drummer joined Morning Shift host Jenn White to talk about his more than six decades behind the drum kit. Click the 'play' button above to hear the interview.

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