Celebrating the legacy of Rock Falls native Louie Bellson

Bellson Music Fest

World-famous big-band drummer Louie Bellson was born in Rock Falls in 1924

Bellson was once referred to by Duke Ellington as “not only the world’s greatest drummer…(but also) the world’s greatest musician!” Louie Bellson has expressed himself on drums since age three. As an internationally-acclaimed artist, Bellson performed in most of the major capitals around the world. Bellson still holds, along with his late wife, actress and singer Pearl Bailey, the second highest number of White House appearances behind only Bob Hope.

He performed on more than 200 albums with such greats as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Woody Herman, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Louie Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, James Brown, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Joe Williams, Wayne Newton and Bellson’s late wife Pearl Bailey.

As a composer and author, Bellson wrote more than 1,000 compositions and more than a dozen books on drums and percussion. He was a six-time Grammy nominee and received the prestigious American Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1994.

Bellson music fest: returning in june 2023

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