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Bernard Purdie


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AKA Bernard “Pretty” Purdie (born June 11, 1939) is an American drummer and session musician from Elkton, Maryland who has worked with various well-known soul, rock, pop, and jazz musicians.

He moved to New York in 1960 and started playing with Lonnie Youngblood before going on to work with King Curtis, and in 1970, Aretha Franklin, eventually becoming her musical director for five years. He has also toured with seminal bop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and saxophonist Hank Crawford, and performed in concert with seminal bop drummer Max Roach.

Purdie is considered an influential and innovative exponent of funk and is also noted for a “rolling” shuffle beat he calls “the Purdie shuffle”. Two examples of “the Purdie shuffle” can be heard on Steely Dan’s “Home at Last” and “Babylon Sisters”. He is credited with being one of the inventors of the “Acid Jazz” genre in music. According to, “colleagues describe the drummer’s style as the ‘funkiest soul beat’ in the business.” According to Purdie, when he’s hired by a new artist, he sets up two signs beside his drum kit. The first one reads “You done it!” The second one reads “You done hired the hit-maker! Bernard ‘Pretty’ Purdie.”


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