Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Cully, Dick (Richard)
Cully, Dick (Richard), drums; b. Manhattan, NY, 19 April 1949. His parents are Richard, born 1917, and Jeanette, born 1921 in New York.
In 1955, his family moved to Lyndhurst, New Jersey where he began his musical career at the age of 16 studying with James Rago, Julliard School of Music graduate in percussion, timpanist with the Louisville Symphony Orchestra since the early 1970's and Professor of Percussion at the University of Louisville. While still in high school, he formed a very popular quartet, (The Charades) with three school friends. The group performed countless club dates and casuals in the New York/New Jersey area. In 1967, he attended the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, studying with drummer Alan Dawson and continued his studies with former "Tonight Show" drummer Ed Shaughnessy.
His early career included performing a variety of musical styles: pop, rock, funk, disco, jazz and country with numerous groups. In 1978 he relocated to Boca Raton, Florida. In 1982, he formed the Dick Cully Big Band, a 15-piece, high energy, and exciting unit performing a wide variety of arrangements for all age groups. It features the most popular arrangements from the libraries of Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Harry James, Buddy Rich, Les Brown, Woody Herman and others as well as the compositions of contemporary artists. Since it's inception, the Dick Cully Big Band has appeared on WLRN-TV Miami, PBS station Channel 17 three times, Black Entertainment Television, Jazz Discovery, NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw and WPTV Channel 12, a local CBS affiliate in Palm Beach Florida. The band was also featured weekly on Adelphia Cable with it's own 30 minute TV show titled, "Strike Up the Band" which was also the title of the bands very first album on Ocean Properties Records. It received air play locally in Florida on big band stations as well as the former New York AM radio station, WNEW, once considered to be the premier jazz and big band station in the country. In 1984, he became an artist/endorser for the world famous Slingerland Drum Company, Niles IL and was recognized as a "World Class Drummer" by the Pro-Mark Corporation of Houston, Texas, the world's largest manufacturer of drumsticks.
He has worked with numerous celebrities including: Toni Tennille, Sandy Duncan, Florence Henderson, Frank Gorshin, Ray Anthony, Buddy Morrow, Skitch Henderson, Patti Page, Mel Torme, Nanette Fabray, band leader Les Elgart, noted big band singer Connie Haines, pop star Bobby Rydell, TV personality Dennis James and comedians Foster Brooks and George Kirby. In 1989, the Dick Cully Big Band was chosen as "One of the best bands in the nation" by Down Beat magazine, the undisputed musical authority and invited to perform at MUSICFEST USA in Philadelphia, PA. Mr. Cully's legion of fans include numerous great drummers such as; Joe Morello, Louie Bellson, Vic Firth, Anton Fig, Butch Miles, Roy Burns, Dennis Chambers, Ellis Tollin, Stanley Kaye, Dom Famularo, Herb Brochstein, Al Miller, Joe Ascione, Kenny Loomer, Jim Chapin, Donny Osborne Jr., Ronnie Benedict, Harry Cangany Jr., Dave Mancini and Ed Shaughnessy. Percussion manufacturers including; Stingray, Zildjian, Remo Percussion Products, Vic Firth Drumsticks as well as the National Drum Association and the International Buddy Rich Fan Club have applauded his talent.
Mr. Cully is a recognized teacher and clinician and the author of instructional drum videos "The Workout" and "Secrets of the World's Greatest Drummer" and "More Secrets of the World's Greatest Drummer", which are in-depth analysis of the late Buddy Rich on VHS. He has authored articles on the late Buddy Rich that have been published by Modern Drummer Magazine as well as Percussive Notes, published by the Percussive Arts Society. 1995, featured artist at the Legends Of Drumming Concert in Five Corners, New York, sponsored by the National Drum Association and recorded on video by DRUM TV. He has done guest artist performances with the Boca Raton Pops and the Florida Orchestra and is a clinician and private instructor. Mr. Cully currently leads and performs with the very popular Swing Machine Big Band and is also the director of The International Big Band Jazz Cafe Society, a 501 C 3 non-profit organization whose function is to preserve big band, jazz and swing music, an American art form for future generations.
Additional website reviews and material:
Berklee College of Music Backstage Pass.
Big Band Database:
Big Band Jazz Cafe Society
Buddy Rich Fan Site: